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Backyard Summer Safety: Swing Sets

swingsetAccording to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200,000 children in the U.S. end up in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries associated with playground equipment.  Here are some tips to ensure your child’s safety when enjoying the backyard swing set.

  • For safe placement, be sure to leave 6 feet of clearance on each side of the structure from other objects such as outdoor furniture, fences, and motor vehicles, pets, sheds, or the home itself.  An appropriate location will also have shade – direct sunlight can cause equipment to become too hot.
  • To guard against choking hazards, do not attach items such as ropes, chains, and/or pet leashes to swing set equipment. Loose fitting clothing with drawstrings and/or scarves should be avoided during play on the swing set.
  • Concrete footings play an important role in securing the set safely. Footer holes should be deep enough so that the footings are completely below ground level to avoid tripping hazards.
  • Provide a Safe Fall Zone. Rubber play mulch, pea gravel, or sand are the best materials to use in and around the play area. These materials absorb the impact of trips and/or falls and are much more effective than grass or dirt in preventing injuries.
  • Be sure the height of swings measure at least 2 feet off the ground. This prevents toddlers from climbing on equipment unattended. Do not use toddler swings for infants — an infant can slide down and may get his/her head caught in the leg hole of the seat.
  • Inspect equipment for breakage. Repair or replace any damaged parts immediately. Be alert to materials that are prone to weather erosion and that may become damaged over time.
  • Teach children to avoid walking close to, behind, or in front of equipment that is in motion and not to get off of equipment that is in motion.
  • Do not allow children to hang on the frame of the swing set or twist or ties chains as ropes as this reduces the integrity of the equipment and can cause injury.
  • Routinely inspect hardware and other areas for sharp edges and replace any safety caps that have become damaged or are missing. Check spaces within the swing set to be sure children cannot become trapped on tangled.

Following these tips with ensure years of safe enjoyment on your backyard swing set.