Here are some safety tips for setting up your child’s swing set:
- Buy sturdy equipment that will grow and change as your children become older. Consider modular equipment that can be bought, installed, replaced or upgraded in phases.
- Stability is very important. Install the swing set legs in concrete below ground level to avoid a tripping hazard. However, if you use anchoring devices that usually come with the equipment, all pegs should be well below ground level and little or no slack should be in the chain or cable.
- Cap any exposed screws or bolts.
- Do not buy equipment with open-ended hooks, particularly "S" hooks. Avoid: equipment with accessible moving parts which can pinch, scissor or crush fingers; sharp edges or rough surfaces; or, rings with a diameter more than five inches but less than 10 inches, since a child's head may become trapped.
- Slides should have a slope of no more than 30 degrees and sides at least 2 and 2 1/2 inches in height along both sides. They should also have an extended exit surface parallel to the ground so children can regain their balance and be in an upright posture at the bottom of the slide.
- Equipment choice should be based on each child's abilities, interests and physical size. Infants who are unable to sit upright unassisted need to be constantly held on slides. Preschoolers are susceptible to burns on metal equipment in hot weather. Children should not play on equipment that is more than eight feet in height. It doesn't add to their play, but offers a more dangerous fall.