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Backyard Swing Set Safety Tips

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that over 51,000 children each year receive emergency medical care as a result of accidents on home playground equipment and backyard swing sets. Over 80% of these injuries result from falls.

Backyard swing sets and play structures are a popular form of home entertainment for children, yet remain a serious injury risk as well. To ensure your backyard swing set/play structure is safe for your children, follow these safety tips:

Backyard Swing set Selection Safety Tips:

  • For children less than three years of age, purchase a toddler swing set with enclosed sides.
  • Only purchase swing sets with swings that have a minimum of 22 inches of separation between them.
  • Only purchase slides that are less than 10 feet long, with a maximum deck height of 5 feet. This is the maximum height at which a parent standing on the ground can assist a child.
  • Check for recessed connectors, or rounded bolt heads on all connections.
  • Ensure the equipment does not have a ramp or ladder mounted next to a slide.

Backyard Swing Set Installation and Surroundings Safety Tips:

  • Set the backyard swing set up in a level location, away from overhanging objects that can be reached from the tower of the play structure.
  • If possible, set swing set up in a shaded area to avoid overheating of metal or plastic parts.
  • Set toddler swings at least 24 inches above the ground so they cannot swing themselves.
  • Ensure a minimum of 8 feet of clearance around all parts of a play structure, and at least 10 feet of clearance behind and in front of the swings.
  • Provide a soft landing area at the base of the slide.
  • Create a play area base of sand, pea gravel, mulch, or rubberized surface.
  • Play close attention to anchorage instructions and equipment provided by the manufacturer. Ensure all anchorages are recessed and do not pose a tripping or gouging hazard.

Backyard Swing set Usage Safety Tips:

  • Adults should monitor play on the structure at all times.
  • Follow manufacturer’s directions in limiting the maximum number of children and weight the equipment can support. As a general rule, children of widely varying ages should not play on the backyard swing set at the same time.
  • Set up safety rules for using the backyard swing set, and enforce them with your children.

Maintenance Safety Tips:

  • Backyard swing sets require regular maintenance. Wood structures require annual checking of the connections, sanding of rough areas, and re-coating for weather resistance. Metal swing sets require checking for rust or deteriorated areas and paint touch-up.
  • Replenish the play area base annually. Mulch bases in particular lose much of their material over the winter. Sand bases can become compacted and must be replenished every few years with new material

Content provided by Helium Inc. This information is provided for your convenience; it is not intended as insurance advice. The views, opinions, and advice expressed in this article are solely those of the author and not those of Homesite Group Incorporated. Please consult your insurance carrier or agent for information regarding your policy or coverages.
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