Safety Tips for Kids' Slides and Swings

Installing a kids slides and swing sets is a surefire way to pack loads of afternoon fun into your own backyard. Parents, however, will want to know that an after-school play session doesn't end in a trip to the emergency room. Safety, therefore, in materials, construction and installation is paramount in deciding which slides and playsets to buy.

Choosing Playset Materials

Play sets are made of many materials, some of which may be toxic and dangerous for small children. Slides are often constructed from hard plastic, metal or fiberglass. The most inexpensive slides are made of plastic, and if the sides break or split, they may leave sharp edges on which children can cut themselves.

On sizzling summer days metal slide surfaces can become uncomfortably, and even dangerously, hot to the touch. When temperatures rise to the 90 or 100 degree level, the metal may get too hot for the tender skin of young children.

The use of pressure-treated wood for backyard play equipment has stirred some controversy. Very young children have been known to chew on playset wood at times, and the chemicals used to treat this wood can be extremely toxic.

Securing Playsets to the Ground

Installing your playset so that it doesn't rock or pull out of the ground is a primary safety concern. Playsets such as kid's slides and swing sets can be secured through the use of cement footings in the ground, which needs to be deep enough to prevent rocking of the playset as children climb and swing from the equipment. Also, the playset should be set level in the ground so that the entire playset is balanced and doesn't pose a threat of flipping over or buckling if a child plays rambunctiously on the equipment.

The other method of securing a playset is to anchor it against a solid building that is firmly secured to the ground such a house or garage.

Swing Safety

If not installed correctly, swings are potentially the most dangerous type of play equipment. Using outdated or recalled equipment is also a safety risk. Swings that will be used for very young children should be specifically designed for small kids. The seats should take the form of a wrap-around seat that reduces the chances of a child losing its balance and flipping out of the swing.

Beware of simple swings made of a notched board suspended across a looped rope.They do not secure the child and are not safe. Swings need seats specifically designed to secure children. The chains from which the swings are hung should be wrapped in plastic. and attached to the center beam of the swing set.

Parents can ensure the safety of their children by uisng new equipment, installing it securing and by supervising their children while they play.