Keep your kids happy and safe with these playset tips.

Backyard playsets: Tips and what you should know

April 29th, 2016 by

Keep your kids happy and safe with these playset tips.

If you have the space and the resources, a backyard playset or swing set can be a way to keep your kids happy while not having to go far from home. Yet, since playsets are used heavily and almost exclusively by children, attention to detail and safety is important: Children are extremely vulnerable. To keep your family safe while having fun, consider the following when planning a playset:

Size of your yard
While catalogs and pictures online can give you a certain impression of the size of a playset, it can be hard to fully comprehend what kind of space you will need strictly by a glance. When reviewing specifications for a prospective playset, measure out the area you want to install the playset in and make sure you have sufficient room. According to BobVila.com, 6 feet of clearance around the entire playset.

Keep in mind, especially when looking for a swing set, that you will need much more space than just the area that the set itself occupies to ensure safe play. You may also one day want to use more of your yard for other purposes like a pool or barbecue.

Location
Aside from size concerns, location plays an important part in playset safety. Position playsets on solid, flat ground, but away from anything too hard, like brick on concrete. Ideally, the ground under a playset should have 6 to 12 inches of protective materials, like sand, pea gravel or mulch. Rubber in-fill is a common feature, but some parents cite safety concerns about the dust created by rubber materials.

Anchoring
Playsets are made to be used vigorously – but even the sturdiest set can be dangerous if improperly secured. Bolt all sets to the ground tightly and test the set with your full, adult weight to make sure it doesn't wobble or tip. After securing a playset, cover any exposed bolts, hooks or exposed edges that can be dangerous and cause injury to kids.

Size of the set
When considering a playset or swing set, its important to right-size the set for the age and size of your children. While you want a set to grow with the kids, smaller children need different amenities when it comes to safe play. An infant seat on a swing set will ensure that a child placed in the seat will be secure and not be able to fall out and injure themselves. Also adjust the height of swings based on the size of the child, making sure that a young child cannot get into a infant/toddler swing without an adult's help. At the same time, make sure for older kids that a playset isn't too tall for them to climb safely. 

Materials 
Different playset materials have unique pros and cons. Wood is traditional and attractive, with options like redwood, red cedar, yellow cedar, northern white cedar and pressure-treated all boasting insect-, water- and erosion-resistant features. Still, given the organic nature of wood, some natural erosion, settling, expansion and retraction will occur requiring a degree of upkeep. Wood also can splinter and some pressure treatments use dangerous chemicals, making it not 100 percent safe for use with kids. 

Plastic and metal sets are typically safer from wear and tear, with plastic representing the most affordable and durable option. They do, however, limit customization and expansion over time.

Keeping your home and family safe is our top priority. Trust Fundy Mutual for great tips and low rates on home and auto insurance