Playground equipment is designed for your children to have fun in a safe environment. Even though the designers of these outdoor playscapes work tirelessly to ensure their safety, there are several precautions that should be taken even after installation. Unfortunately, there are thousands of needless injuries every year, and these can be avoided by following a few playground safety precautions. Whether you are dealing with a swing set at a community park or a private one in your backyard, follow these safety tips to minimize the chance of an accident.
One way to avoid any unnecessary collisions is to measure the space between, in front, and behind the swings. Each swing should be at least two feet apart from one another, and there should be at least two and a half feet (30 in) between the swings and the frame of the structure. There should not be anything with in six feet on the left or right side of the swing set, but the areas in front and behind should be much bigger. These spaces (also known as the fall zone) are sometimes used for kids to jump off of the swing while it is still in motion, so you naturally need an extended landing space. Typically, your fall zone in front of and behind your swing set should be twice the height of the swing itself. So, if your swing set structure is eight feet tall, then you will want at least sixteen feet of space in the front and back of it as designated fall space.
Don’t Play on Rusty Sets
Before letting a child on a playground swing set, assess state of it. If there are any signs of rust, cracks, or breaks in the structure, it is unsafe for playing. If the structure moves a lot as the swings go and back and forth, then do not let a child play on it. In these circumstances, either the age or poor installation could cause the structure to break while it is being used, and that has the potential to cause serious injury in the process.
Keep a Close Watch
It can be so easy to be distracted while your kids are playing at a park, but remember that you are your child’s first line of defense. Teach your child to be aware of the swings when someone else is on them so they don’t walk in front of or behind them. Make sure they are the appropriate age to sit on the swings and not in the bucket seats. Instruct them on not twisting the chains, and discourage them from jumping from a swing in motion.
All playground equipment should undergo regular and thorough inspections, whether it is in a public park or in your own backyard. In the meantime, any faulty pieces should be replaced before anyone uses it. Check for loose hooks or screws that need tightening, and anything that could make contact with a person doesn’t have any sharp edges. Over time, the protective surface that is laid down will begin to wear out whether that is mulch, sand, or rubber mats, so replace that as it will otherwise become defective.
Most importantly, have fun with your children as they play on the swing sets. Your child is getting to learn so much about their own physical limitations while enjoying their time outside. By participating in this learning experience, you not only provide a safer environment, but a more memorable one as well!