girl swinging on a swing set

5 Safety Tips for Your Home Playground or Swing Set

Have you just purchased a home playground? Or perhaps you’re looking into buying a swing set for your kids? Playgrounds and swing sets are great fun for children and help them burn energy exercising, but they can pose a danger to them unless you follow safety guidelines. Here are some safety tips to follow before installation and during playtime.

1. Prepare a Soft, Level Surface

Swing sets and playground equipment should always lie on a flat surface. Equipment could malfunction or work improperly if slanted. Anchoring the set to the ground also helps secure the equipment from malfunctioning. The surface itself should be soft to absorb some of the impact of a fall. Ideally, you’d have 9 inches of loose-fill material, like shredded rubber or wood chips, but grass will do. Never place a playground on concrete or another hard surface.

2. Install the Equipment 6 Feet Away From Any Wall

This safety rule is most important for slides and swings. Keeping swing sets at least 6 feet away from any wall or other hard surface, like a fence or rock, reduces the risk if your child tries jumping off a swing (which is something to avoid on its own). Likewise, the soft surface described in the last tip should also extend out 6 feet around the playground.

swing set with slide

3. Construct the Playground Equipment Properly

Build all of the playground equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t cut corners, use your own parts, or add extra components, like ropes. Your playground was engineered safely and constructing it improperly can compromise its safety. All the screws and bolts should be capped to prevent scrapes. Also, check the screws periodically in case they need to be replaced. If you purchase a pre-built playground or have a contractor install the swing set, much of this will be taken care of for you.

4. Keep an Eye on Your Children as They Play

Once the playground is installed, be sure to watch your kids as they play. You can play with them or be in close proximity gardening or relaxing on your backyard patio. Teach them that horseplay on or around the playground is extremely dangerous. If you have a swing or slide, teach them to stay an appropriate distance away while someone else is on it. While on the swing, teach them to avoid twisting the chains or ropes. They should also only have one person per swing and avoid jumping off.

5. Dress Your Children Appropriately for Play

You might not think that your kid’s clothing affects safety on a playground, but it does. They should wear closed shoes at all times. Playing barefoot or with open shoes can cause splinters or other injury that’s easily avoided. Their shirts, jackets and pants shouldn’t have any drawstrings or other loose articles on them. Drawstrings can easily get caught in a swing, slide, or steering wheel toy, risking being pulled or worse, choked.

Ready to Play?

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge to keep your children safe, look for a fun, at-home playground set. Your family will have many hours of fun playing on your equipment without needing to drive across town.