Obviously, when you are building swings and slides in your backyard, you are building them for your kids and your visitors’ kids. The most important thing to consider when building swings and slides is the safety of your children. It is estimated that over 60,000 accidents occur in home playgrounds in the U.S.A. every year. Some of these accidents are caused by careless or poor planning of the playground, as well as poor building of the equipment. When building swings and slides, you have to imagine all the risky scenarios that might happen when a kid is using the equipment. The most vulnerable kids are those under 5 years, but even older kids are also at risk.
The most enjoyable play equipment is one that allows kids to play without getting hurt. When building swings and slides in the backyard, consider the following things:
1 – Shock Absorbing Surface
A shock absorbing surface is required to provide a safe landing place for kids when they are sliding down the slide. Shock absorbing surfaces are also required for swings. Install a thick foam or sponge padding at the end of the slide, or under and around the swing. You can also put a thick layer of sand at the end of the slide about 200mm thick. First,dig out the topsoil, compact the ground, then pour a layer of sand. Make the landing place wide and long, 2.1m x 2.1m is fine for slides. For swings, the dimensions should be two times the length of swing rope or suspending bar, at the back and front. Other alternative materials, that can be used as shock absorbers include mulch, wood chips, gravel, shredded rubber and factory-made products like safety mats, sold by retailers.
2 – Anchor the Swings
To avoid tipping, the swings should be firmly anchored. Install equipment that has its own anchoring system. You should also purchase a manual that gives detailed instructions for assembling.
3 – Keep Lines and Ropes Away
Your swings and slides should be built far from clothes lines and electricity lines. As a rule, do not allow kids to bring dog leashes or ropes to the playground. The danger in bringing ropes to the playground is that kids can tie these to the swings and slides. These can cause accidental strangling, if a kid is caught at the loose ends.
4 – Check for Dangerous Hooks
On your slides and swings, make sure there are no protruding bolts or S hooks. These are dangerous hardware.
5 – Check for Dangerous Openings
When installing slides, make sure there are no openings between double sides that can trap a small kid. Also, make sure there are no side rails that can trap your child’s arm or hand while sliding down. Solid surface side guards are safer. The spacing between ladder rungs should be big enough not to trap a child.
6 – Guard Rails
Put guard rails on high platforms and ramps to prevent falls.
7 – Swing Seats
Choose soft material for your swing seats. Wood and metal seats will cause serious injuries during impact.