There’s nothing more entertaining and fun when compared to a visit to the park, but those can often be a bit of your project. You have to load all the kids in the van, pack snacks and a picnic blanket therefore you always feel just like you’re neglecting things at home. No matter just how many hours you may spend there, the youngsters hardly ever want to leave.
That’s why many families stop going to the park and instead bring the park house with them. They build their own playset right in their own backyard. What could be much better than that?
The only problem with this is actually the problem of safety. At parks or school playgrounds, all the gear has been installed by the town or the school and necessarily passes all safety inspections and regulations. When it comes to any structures you build or purchase for your own backyard, however, it’s your decision to make sure that your backyard playset is safe for your children to experience on.
Maybe safety doesn’t appear just like a huge concern to you. But it’s more important than you may think. A lot more than 200,000 children injure themselves on public and private playground equipment each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This doesn’t have to be the situation, though. You can help keep your child safe by firmly taking a few basic precautions to ensure the safety of your backyard outdoor playsets.
With this goal in mind, here are some of the items to remember when you’re taking into consideration the top features of a safe playset.
1. What Material Is It Made Of?
Two main materials are generally used to construct playsets. These two are metal and wood. Playsets are commonly either built totally of wood, completely of metal or simply some combination of both. Of course, addititionally there is the subset of toddler playsets that are created totally of plastic, but those are in another category.
When we make reference to the material, we’re discussing the key frame itself. Certainly, some aspects of the playset would be the same on both wood and metal playsets. For instance, the slides and the belt swings will both be produced of the same high-density plastic in both types of playsets, and the handhold bars will almost always be produced of metal.
The frame, however, is a little more available to variation. Metal and wood are the two most popular choices for this construction, and both have their advantages and their disadvantages.
Playsets that use metal because of their main framework are made of steel and can be purchased in a wide range of colors. The steel is usually covered with a powder-coated finish that helps protect against rusting preventing heat retention. These features are designed to protect your kids from burns and to preserve the playset’s beauty and functionality as time passes.
The primary advantage of metal is its long-lasting and durable nature. Steel doesn’t rot or decay. If it’s cared for properly, it’ll last for years to come and offer your sons or daughters and perhaps even your grandchildren with years of fun.
Metal playsets are also usually less costly than wooden ones. They can even be less work, since there is no need to take care of the metal regularly. They’re also lighter and are usually easier to put together than their wooden counterparts. In conditions of safety features, however, metal can still cause burns or discomfort. It could cause children to forget about a bar they were holding onto because it became too hot, and they might fall to the bottom.
Wood playsets give you a natural splendor that’s extremely appealing. They’re commonly built from woods like cedar and also have been pressure-treated to prevent rotting and insect infestations. This treatment works to help make the wood go longer and remain safer.
Wooden playsets stay cool in the summertime, meaning fewer burns and less discomfort for the children playing in it. They’re also better for the environment than metal ones. They’ll never rust just how a metal playset might, and they are more heavy-duty, easily supporting the weight of groups of children.
They’re also highly customizable. It’s easy to make a little of the set, and then increase it down the road. They’re also easy to repaint or restyle as the years go on.
Most wooden playsets do require somewhat of upkeep. The wood must be stained and treated regularly to keep the initial look and to prevent warping, splintering or other damage from occurring. In the event the wood isn’t maintained regularly, the splitting and warping can cause the bolts to be loose, and the playset can become unstable and unsafe.
However, if you’re willing to commit to this maintenance, these beautiful wooden swing sets & playsets can last for a long time and are much heavier and typically more stable than metal playsets.
Neither material is always safer than the other. Both have their advantages, and both will provide your household with years of fun if they’re looked after properly.
2. How Is It Being Installed?
One of the main factors of playground safety is the right installing the playset. If it has been installed improperly, it gets the potential to cause all sorts of safety issues and hazards.
It might appear easy enough to do yourself, but we recommend from this if you don’t feel confident in your abilities. The security of your kids as they play is a great deal to risk.
If a playset has been installed incorrectly, the results could be disastrous. Pieces of the playset might come apart when children are playing about them. Exposed sharp ends might be left protruding, and may cause injury. The playset itself may tip over if it hasn’t been anchored properly.
Installing a playset is an extremely involved process, and it’s of the most importance that task is performed correctly. You are able to do it yourself, but only when you’re extremely confident in your ability to still do it. Get a set of directions and follow those to the letter. Ask a relative or friend who’s well-versed in this field to work with you, or at least to check on your projects when you’re finished. And if you’re determined to get this done yourself, don’t let any children on the playset until you’re certain it’s finished and it’s finished correctly.
In the event that you don’t feel confident, it’s better to let a professional handle the installation. Most companies that sell playsets also offer installations. It could be smart to spend just a little extra and pay for this installation as well.
3. What Surface COULD IT BE Placed On?
No matter how hard you work to guarantee the playset itself is safe, you can’t guarantee there won’t be slips and falls from the playset and onto the ground below. That’s why it’s essential to install your brand-new playset more than a soft surface. That is an easy thing to overlook, but it plays an essential role in the safety and well-being of your kids as they play on the new playset.
Obviously, there are some surfaces you shouldn’t install a playset on. For instance, don’t install the playset on asphalt or concrete. If a kid were to fall onto this, the injuries have the potential to be quite severe. The grass is a much better choice, but it still isn’t ideal. The soft grass and the loose dirt underneath do give a fair amount of cushioning for falls. The thing is that over years of running and jumping and falling on the floor, the grass will wear away and the dirt can be hard-packed. This means it provides less cushioning and less protection.
As for what surface to set up a playset on, there are many options to choose from. All of these are acceptable, and all have different advantages. Decide which is the most practical and good for you as well as your playset.
Pea Gravel or Sand
Neither of the is perfect, however they both provide more protection than hard-packed dirt. They’re also relatively cheap and natural, making them green. You’ll need to set up a barrier across the playset, however, to keep carefully the sand or gravel from spreading into the remaining yard.
Be cautious of the sand when it gets wet, as it’ll become more hard-packed and can not be soft to land on. You’ll also need to rake the sand or gravel back occasionally, as the wind might blow it beyond your barrier. Lastly, you’ll have to check on periodically for any hazardous objects that could be embedded in the sand.
Mulch is affordable, easy to come by and best for the environment. It’s also sturdy and unlikely to be blown away by the wind. It’s a favorite choice for cushioning playgrounds because of how well it works. Many public playgrounds trust it, and it could make a terrific choice for your backyard playset as well.
Mulch does become compact every couple of years, so it’s essential to put in a fresh layer to the most notable. It also degrades naturally, so eventually, you’ll need to displace it entirely.
This sort of surface costs more than the other loose fills, but it’s still less costly than solid rubber. It’s also a great way to recycle old tires.
Using the shredded rubber, you’ll have to build a barrier to keep it from spreading out in to the yard, and it will need to be raked back to place once in awhile, especially in high-traffic areas such as under the swings.
These have become a lot more popular lately because they fix lots of the problems that include a few of the other available choices. They’re made up of interlocking tiles that may be manufactured from different degrees of thickness, depending how high your playset is. These rubber mats are more likely to be long-lasting than the loose-fill options, plus they won’t have to be replaced every several years. Your pets are less inclined to use them as your bathrooms, and even if indeed they do, it’s easy to identify these messes and clean them up.
They are more costly, however, and they’re also less natural-looking, meaning they might detract from the natural splendor of your wooden playset.
That is arguably the material that supplies the best protection for falls. In addition, it is actually the most expensive and the least natural-looking.
But the level of protection it offers can’t be overstated. It’s also the longest-lasting option on the list and requires no maintenance once it’s been poured into place.
No real matter what surface you install the playset on, industry experts agree that the combined height of a kid and the playset they’re sitting on should be only 12 feet. In case the playset is taller than this, no ground surface can protect the kid from injury if indeed they fall.
4. May be the Playset Age-Appropriate?
Another consideration that influences the safety of your backyard playset is age-appropriateness. Exposing small children to playsets they aren’t old enough to make use of can be dangerous and can cause accident and injury.
Sometimes, they are easy changes to support for. When you have a kid, for example, you might use a bucket swing instead of a bench design. Or you may make your slide several feet shorter.
But it can also be more difficult than that. What if you have one older child and one younger? Generally, it’s impractical to obtain two separate playsets that are each designed at the appropriate age level. There is most likely only room in your yard for one playset. Therefore, compromises should be made.
Consider installing gates or other kinds of barriers on your playset. Maybe decide on a design which includes two levels. The low level could be safe for the younger child, and a gate closes off the upper level that is more appropriate for a mature child.
Another solution might be to permit youngsters on a far more advanced playset, but to ensure they’re always supervised. You may hold their hand while they try to climb the stairs or keep a detailed eye in it while a mature sibling helps them out.
Whatever solution you decide to implement, take note allowing small children on the playset designed for older kids could be dangerous. Injury could occur if you aren’t careful and don’t exercise frequent vigilance.
5. WHAT’S the Company’s Reputation?
When you’re deciding who to buy a playset from, there are all types of factors in your thoughts. You’re probably considering how much their product costs, whether or not they have the merchandise you’re looking for if they’ll set it up for you.
But if you’re seriously considering buying from a specific company, it’s also a good idea to execute a little extra research and discover what their reputation is. Make sure they have a good reputation and they’re known for producing safe, reliable playsets.
There are many ways to get this done. You might ask friends who’ve backyard playsets. What company did they obtain? What did they think of these? You can even browse discussion boards and review websites online. If you consistently hear negative reasons for having a specific company, you might like to prevent them. Alternatively, if you retain hearing good things about a certain company, it could be worth it to look at their products.
6. ANY KIND OF SAFENESS Hazards?
This question doesn’t refer specifically to anybody factor of the playset, but instead to the small details that contain the playset together. If these little details are not cared for and aren’t being properly maintained, the complete structure quickly becomes unsafe.
This will happen regardless of what levels of precautions you’ve taken with the rest of the playset. Even if the playset is age-appropriate, installed on a soft surface and built from the correct materials, it can be dangerous if youo neglect many of these basic details.
A number of the basic elements that want attention are:
Tightening the Bolts
Whether your playset is constructed of metal, wood or plastic, these materials all shift and change after a while and seasons change. Bolts become loose in the winter or as children play and swing on the bars and pieces of the playset. Be sure to tighten these before the kids return to the playset for the summertime, and then again every couple of weeks during the summer play season.
Checking for Bolt Caps
Exposed bolts could scrape or even cut bare knees and arms. Not just that, but they may possibly also catch loose fabric, causing children to stumble, fall or even be caught and strangled by their own clothing. Bolts should be covered with a plastic cap that protects resistant to the sharp edges of the bolt. Check to make certain these caps are intact, and be certain to displace any that contain fallen off.
Closing the S-Hooks
All S-hooks in your playset should be closed tightly enough that you can’t fit a dime through the opening. If they’re open wider than this, clothing could catch and cause a strangulation hazard, or the swing might come detached if the kid swings too much. Use a set of pliers to pinch these hooks closed to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Removing Extra Ropes
Kids are smart, and they’re always researching to expand their play areas. Unfortunately, they don’t will have a precise gauge of what’s safe and what isn’t. They could attach extra ropes like clothesline or jump rope to the playset and swing with them. That is a safety hazard due to prospect of strangulation, and also because they might be secured improperly and may cause a nasty fall.
Checking for Deterioration
One of the primary safety hazards on any playset is simple deterioration. You should give your playset an intensive inspection after winter and prior to the start of the summer play season, as well as checking it multiple times through the summer. In this inspection, you should sand down splinters and check to ensure any chains and ropes are still secure. If possible, give your playset a brand new coat of rust-resistant paint.
Making Sure the region Is Clear
It’s important to ensure that the encompassing area is free from any obstructions that may pose a danger. Are there any low-hanging tree branches, or drooping telephone wires? Any kind of large fences nearby, or sheds that are too close? This is especially important when contemplating swings and what lengths they’ll travel in either direction. It’s also smart to look for any hazards hidden in the sand, mulch or other loose cover material.