Kids' slides are a favorite on private and public playgrounds. They can encourage children to get fresh air and exercise. However, they can also lead to injuries if you don't take the proper precautions when you build or install a playset in your backyard.
1. The Lower, the Better
If you have very small children especially, the height of your kids' slides are important. The higher the slide, the further your children can fall down to the ground and the more likely they are to injure themselves. That's why playsets intended for toddlers and very small children include slides that are only a few feet off of the ground. Don't install a slide that is high; make the slide as close to the ground as you and your family are comfortable with. If you're going to have a tall slide for older children, keep very small children away or guide them down the slide with your arms tightly around their waists.
2. Install Side Rails
Most kids slides don't have anything on the side, which leaves children open to falling off as they slide down. (Children, when excited, may twist or lose their balance as they slide.) To prevent your children from tumbling off of the side of the slide, install side rails along the majority of the slide, from the top to the bottom. You can also look for slides that include side rails to begin with or tunnel slides.
3. Avoid Sharp Metal and Wood in Slides
Sharp surfaces can poke and injure children as they play on kids slides. They may also get splinters if they try to slide down a wooden surface. When possible, you should choose another material for your slide, such as durable plastic. You may be able to more safely construct the rest of the playset with a form of metal or wood, though, but be sure that the material is smooth and not jagged.
4. Make Sure the Slide Is Anchored Down
Some kids slides are rather lightweight, especially if they're designed for very young children. A brisk windstorm can topple them over, which can prove a nightmare if your kids are playing at the time. Make sure that your slide and playset are securely tethered to the ground with a system of posts secured into holes you dig into the ground and then cover with gravel.
5. Make Sure the Ladder Has Hand Rails
Even if your slide isn't very far off the ground, the ladder is another place where children have the potential to topple, particularly if they're excited and not paying attention to safety. Make sure that the ladder to your slide has hand rails and instruct your children to grab onto these rails when climbing up. Some slides, as parts of playsets, are not reached by a ladder. Make sure each platform in the playset that leads up to the top of the slide offers some form of railing for protection.