Outdoor play equipment such as swing sets offer kids fresh air, friends, and exercise. Why ruin the fun by not checking any faulty parts, improper surfaces, and careless behavior? Parents should keep in mind that safety is always a priority and of paramount importance.
Swing sets and play structures is considered one of the most popular home entertainment for children but also remain a serious injury risk. Consider following these simple safety guidelines to ensure the safety for your children.
Make a Wise Selection
There are a few factors to consider before purchasing a swing set. The heart of most play structures is the swing. Purchase a toddler swing set with enclosed sides for children less than three years of age. Parents may be tempted to buy the affordable ones hoping it will last their children's entire childhood. This is not a safe option. Start with the smaller sets if kids are still young then upgrade to a more elaborate set as they get older. Lastly, don't buy a swing set that has components your children will not be able to use for a couple of years. For example, avoid a play set with monkey bars if your kids are still toddlers.
Consider Design and Surfaces
The rule is simple. Younger children should not play on swing sets designed for older kids because the equipment sizes and proportions won't be right for small kids. The same applies for older kids not playing equipment designed for younger ones. Smaller equipment can cause problems for bigger kids.
One of the most important factors in reducing injuries is a proper surface. The surface under the equipment should be soft enough and thick enough to soften the impact of a child's fall. Create a play area base of sand, pea gravel, mulch, or rubberized surface.
Maintenance and Inspection
It's important to conduct a regular check on the equipment to ensure that it’s clean and well maintained. Wood structures should not be cracking or splintering. It also requires annual checking of the connections, sanding of rough areas, and re-coating for weather resistance. Checking for rust or deteriorated area and paint touch-up is a must for metal structures. If there is a broken equipment have it changed or replaced as soon as possible and designate it as off limits immediately.
Teach Kids the Basics
Set up safety rules that your kids can remember and follow. They must know how to be safe and act responsibly.
Here are a few rules to teach your kids:
Stay away from moving swings to avoid getting hit or kick.
No pushing while on slides, swings, seesaws, etc.
Slide feet first and land on both feet with their knees slightly bent
Ask them to leave any other toys away from the equipment so that no one trips over them
No wearing of loose clothing, or clothes that have drawstrings or cords. Accessories such as necklaces and bracelets should be removed.
Set up an area that you can monitor children at all times. The younger the kids, the more supervision needed. Keep in mind that kids aren't capable of foreseeing dangerous situations by themselves. The older kids can be overly excited and likes to test their limits so keep them in check.
Play is an integral part of a child's physical, social, intellectual, and emotional development. So, if you want to have peace of mind while your kids are having fun with their swing set follow these simple yet helpful safety tips.