Spring is the time of the year when swing sets are commonly purchased as the weather gets warmer and parents know it's the perfect time for their kids to play outside in the backyard. Swing sets are far becoming more like a playground with ladder, slides, forts, climbing walls, and so much more. This array of choices could be challenging for parents who don't always know what the most important considerations in picking a swing set. To be sure that you are choosing the right swing set, you need to consider the following:
This is considered as the most crucial factor when deciding to purchase a swing set. It is important to do measurements instead of relying on catalog and internet photos because this often leads to false idea of a swing set size. Make note of the pool, patios, trampolines, barbecue pits, dog run, and any other features found in the backyard. The industry standard for residential playground equipment is to leave a 6-foot buffer around the perimeter.
Children can be moving from all directions with all the swinging, jumping, and sliding so it is imperative that the space is big enough for them to do all these activities. Most importantly, the site should be free of obstacles that could cause injuries such as low overhanging tree branches, overhead wires, tree stumps, large rocks, and concrete.
Metal and wood are the two common choices of framework materials on the market today when it comes to swing sets. Most accessories like the belt swings and slides are made of high density plastic for both metal and wooden playsets.
Wood is environmentally friendly and easy to repair. Whether it's cedar or redwood, it should be naturally rot-resistant and insect resistant.
Swing sets which are constructed from steel for long-lasting strength and durability are available in variety of colors. The use of metal requires touching up scrapes and scratches in the metal to prevent rusting.
CHOOSING IDEAL FEATURES
The children are the ones who are going to use the swing set so this is the time when parents should ask for their children's opinions. They should be involved in the swing set choosing process to ensure that it meet their needs and desires. The best way to do this is to ask them what they want to see in their backyard or bring them to a park or a friend's house to test first and see what they like. Children could go for the more active features like a rock wall, monkey bars, or wave slide or features that use more of their imaginations such as a telescope, steering wheel, or picnic table.
The basic features of a swing set will usually include a swing and a slide. Parents of young children typically want a baby swing, or half-bucket swing. Children get older so having features that are convertible is more practical. There are variety of swings available on the market for older children including tire swings and sling swings. One thing to remember is that tire swings are more likely to collect water which may invite nesting such as wasps so regular cleaning must be done.
Safety first before fun. Every manufacturer is sent out safety recommendations, but they are not required to follow most of the suggestions. However, it is up to parents to ensure their children's safety against poorly made play equipment. Here are a few things to consider according to the guidelines set by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC):
- Free of any rough surfaces to avoid splinters and other minor injuries; wood should be pre-sanded and rounded in the edges.
- Use bolts instead of nails and staples. Nails and staples are too weak.
- Make time to check that accessories are intact; replace any damages.
- Clubhouse decks and slide platforms that are designed to prevent a child from falling off.
- The structure is free of lead paint or wood treatment that may be hazardous to a child's health.
The ease that comes along with installing a new swing set is another factor to consider. These days, many backyard playsets look like the giant and elaborate ones found in parks and playgrounds. Some structures may even require days for assembly. Don't fret nor be intimidated. The option of professional installation is available but keep in mind this will require additional cost.
If you are quite the handyman and more adventurous, you can start by reading the Owner's Manual and don't forget to do inventory of all the parts and hardware and make sure nothing is missing, damaged, or defective.
In conclusion, purchasing a swing set should not be daunting. Your backyard equipment can keep your kids happy and occupied playing outdoors throughout their childhood years if you keep in mind to do a thoughtful research before making the investment and some dedicated maintenance as the years go by.