While swing sets can be a fabulous outlet that provide hours of excitement, creative play, and practice using social skills, safety must be our number one priority. That’s why we’ve come up with the 10 Commandments of Swing Set Safety. It’s every parent or caregiver’s guide to keeping their kids safe and happy on the jungle gym. Take a look.
Commandment #1: Thou Shalt Cover Thine Surface Properly
Close to 3 million children are treated for falls from swing sets annually. Avoid this by placing the proper surface material beneath and around your playset.
Commandment #2: Thou Shalt Not Play Rough
While we want our kids to have a good time, we also need to keep playtime safe. No pushing, grabbing, or tripping anyone, even as a joke. It’s also a good idea to teach kids proper playground conduct.
Commandment #3: Thou Shalt Not Expose Bolts, Nails, Screws, or Hooks
We can’t tell you how many injuries occur from an exposed element protruding too far. A sharp screw can poke children in the eyes, stab at their skin, or cut them severely. A protruding S-hook or nail can snag clothing items and cause kids to trip or be dragged backwards violently (more on that in the next commandment). Keep your wooden swing set safe by using depressed screws and S-hooks that close tightly.
Commandment #4: Thou Shalt Dress for Swinging Success
Kids need to wear the right clothing to stay safe on their backyard playsets. Avoid any accessories or clothes with loose or dangling pieces such as drawstrings, hoods, and necklaces. These can all catch on a protrusion or beam and cause strangulation.
Commandment #5: Thou Shalt Not Turn Away Thine Eyes
Any parent who views their wooden swing set as a babysitter is making a big mistake. While this playground equipment will certainly entertain and occupy your children for hours on end, that is not to say it can replace the watchful eye of a loving guardian. Kids need to be supervised at all times when on a swing set to ensure proper safety.
Commandment #6: Thou Shalt Set Thyself Up Technically
Set yourself up for success by putting up safe kid playground equipment from the start. Install your swing set in an area that’s not too close to pavement or obstructions, and put guardrails on any platform above 30” and around other precarious areas.
Commandment #7: Thou Shalt Give Thyself Space
The swing set itself should also have proper spacing. Swings should be 8” apart or more, at least 8” from the ground, and there should be plenty of room around the swings to allow for people to walk behind or in front of them without getting hurt. Ladder rungs, steps, and bars should be less than 3.5” apart or greater than 9” to avoid entrapment.
Commandment #8: Thou Shalt Not Allow Tripping Hazards to Remain
Overgrown tree roots, large rocks, or neglected toys can easily trip a kid who is in full sprint dashing across the yard. A quick sweep of the area periodically is enough to keep this your kids safe and sound.
Commandment #9: Thou Shalt Teach Your Children
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Teaching our kids proper playground equipment safety is one of the easiest ways to prevent so many accidents from happening. Talk so kids will listen, and you’ll see how easy these lessons are to give over.
Commandment #10: Thou Shalt Maintain Your Swing Set Frequently
As we mentioned, prevention goes a lot further than cure, so by upkeeping your playground equipment with regular maintenance, you avoid so many problems to begin with. At least annually, give your swing set a maintenance check and:
- Check for loose bolts, screws, and couplings.
- Look for broken swing set accessories or parts and replace immediately.
- Sand down sharp edges or splintering wood.
- Apply a fresh coat of sealant and paint (paint optional).
Following these 10 Commandments will help your whole family enjoy their time on the outdoor playset more, so get religious about swing set safety today! For more safety advice, check out The Complete Guide to Swing Set Safety– it’s free!
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