As the weather warms
up, kids are itching to get outside and play after a long winter. Their parents
are looking forward to it, too. If you've been thinking about installing
a playset in your backyard, now is the time to start planning.
before you run off to the lumber yard, you need to take a look around your yard
with safety in mind. Each year, more than 200,000 children go to U.S. hospital
emergency rooms with injuries associated with playground equipment.
the cause is old, worn-out or low-quality equipment, improper surfaces or risky
behavior, most injuries can be prevented. By using common sense, and with the
help of the guidelines below, you can make sure your kids stay safe while having
these factors when adding a playset to your backyard.
Design and spacing
Make sure you are installing equipment that is appropriate to the age of your kids.
Check all open spaces in the equipment. They should measure either less
than 3 1/2 inches so kids can't fit their heads in or larger than 9 inches,
so their heads won't become trapped, explains Karl Jessen, president
of Detailed Play Systems, a company that provides plans for build-it-yourself
playset should have well-defined play areas that are arranged for safety. You
don't want kids who are going down the slide landing right in front of kids
who are on the swings or climbing up the ladder, says Jessen.
When locating the equipment
in your yard, you should have a 6-foot fall zone in all directions. This means
that the area around your playset should be free of obstacles like fences or bushes
or hard surfaces like sidewalks that could lead to worse injuries in case of a
Look for well-designed
equipment made from durable materials and put together with high-quality hardware.
Make sure equipment is assembled properly and set on a level surface, anchored
firmly to the ground. Install bumper pads for corner cushioning and non-skid strips
for places where little feet need a better grip.
60 percent of all playground injuries are caused by falls to the ground. Asphalt,
concrete and even grass are considered hard surfaces not appropriate for use under
a playset. Mulch, wood chips, fine sand and fine gravel are considered acceptable
best options are synthetic soft play surfaces specifically designed for use with
playsets, such as shredded rubber mulch or engineered wood fiber. These
are non toxic to children and pets and one application lasts for years,
a lot of hard wear and tear, so be sure to inspect your equipment regularly for
anything that could be a hazard to kids, such as loose nuts and bolts, sharp edges,
rust or cracking and splintered wood. Don't forget to check around
the play area as well. Make sure it is free from debris such as sharp sticks,
rocks, toys and any other possible hazards, says Jessen.
but not least, parents need to teach their children playground safety.
Kids need to know they shouldn't push while on playground equipment. Teach
your kids to look out for others when they're using the equipment.
if your kids know all the rules, parents should still supervise them on the playset
at all times. We have what we call the kitchen window rule,'
says Jessen. The goal is for parents to erect the playset in a part of the
yard where they can see it from the house.
Systems - ARA Content
More about playground equipment safety around the Web: