Swing-N-Slide Safety Guidelines for Backyard Play Sets
All children deserve a safe place to play. According to U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), there were nearly 47,000 injuries on home playgrounds to children under age 15 in the latest year studied. The Home Safety Council and Swing-N-Slide want to help you create a safer play experience for your child. Please follow the guidelines listed below, and inspect any play equipment before your child plays there.
- Parents need to supervise children at all times. Stop dangerous behavior before injuries occur.
- Lumber sturdiness is a key component of your play set. Four-by-four corner posts offer stability to the play deck minimizing the side-to-side sway motion that less substantial dimensional lumber may sometimes cause. A-frame legs are equally important as they provide a firm footing for the swing beam.
- Age appropriate accessories should be selected to complement your child(s) age(s). Play set accessories are not on-size-fits-all. Gradually change age appropriate accessories as your child grows. Kids under age five should not play on anything above five feet high and if the child can't climb up a wall or swing on his own, he or she is too small for that particular piece.
- Yard space must be considered when selecting a play set. Backyard play sets should have a cleared area beyond the playsets that extends six feet out from all slides, as well as the end of accessories such as slides. For swings, the rule-of-thumb is to have additional cleared space that extends at least twice the height of the swing beam.
- Soft landings protect children from being injured in a fall. Proper surfacing is an often over-looked safety feature for backyard play sets. Dirt and grass are not adequate. Loose fill materials such as wood mulch, wood chips, sand or fine gravel are recommended and should extend at least six feet in all directions and under equipment. Adequate depth for fill materials varies from 9 to 12 inches depending on the type of material.
- Ensure that the play set you select does not contain spaces measuring between 3.5 inches and 9 inches. Such spaces could trap a child.
Teach your children safe play rules.
LOOK - Never run in front of or behind someone who is swinging.
SHARE - Take turns on the climbers, slides and swings.
DRY IT - Don't play on the swing set if it is wet.
BE NICE - Don't push, shove or roughhouse.
- Separate play zones help to avoid collision and allow sufficient room for dismounts without hitting another accessory or child.
- Anchor ropes and chains (except those use for swings) at both ends so that they cannot be looped back on themselves. This helps to eliminate the risk of strangulation.
- Firmly close all "S" hooks. Improver crimping, or closing of "S" hooks to swing hangers can cause a swing accessory to detach from above and entanglement of clothing.
- Examine your play set frequently to ensure proper surfacing and to tighten loose fasteners. Also look for protruding bolts and excessive wear of chains, ropes and hardware. Make sure all pieces of the play equipment are in good condition.
- Take extra care to make sure equipment has adequate guardrails or barriers, particularly from elevated platforms, walkways and ramps that are 30" or higher. Also, remove tripping hazards like tree stumps, roots, toys, rocks, etc. from the play area.
- Youngsters should not play on worn out and neglected play sets. Take action to remove them immediately.
*Some information provided by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission.