Safety Tips When Purchasing Playground Equipment
By Mike Barus
Before you purchase any type of playground equipment, ensure the pieces meet the safety standards and will ensure your children are completely safe at all times. Most reputable companies or manufacturers will be able to provide you with all the correct specifications required to ensure the equipment is well within the safety standards. Also, reputable companies or manufacturers will be able to provide you with satisfactory answers to any questions you may have regarding the safety of their sets. If you are in the market for quality and safe playground equipment, follow these simple safety tips:
1.) Do your research. The World Wide Web is excellent for researching all manufacturers of playground equipment. Look to websites like the National Program for Playground Safety or the American Academy of Pediatrics to find a complete list of quality manufacturers of equipment.
2.) Choose age appropriate equipment. Be sure to choose equipment that is appropriate for the ages and sizes of your children. If you have several different children in a wide range of ages, consider dedicating different parts of the playground to each child. Also, consider choosing pieces that can be upgraded as the child ages, such as swings or rings. Ensuring that the equipment is appropriate to the child's age will help to prevent accidents from occurring.
3.) Correctly install all equipment. Regardless how safe the playground equipment claims to be, improper installation can create a dangerous situation for both children and adults. If you are installing the equipment yourself, ensure that the proper tools are used and that the equipment is firmly secured to the ground. Many individuals choose to use professional installers to assemble and install their playground equipment to prevent any hassles and to ensure the job is done correctly.
4.) Look to soft surfaces. Every year, hundreds of children are injured on the playground due to falls. Although the playground equipment may be completely safe and correctly installed, children are still capable of falling, tripping, or tumbling onto the ground. Instead of allowing your tots to fall on a hard concrete surface or even the slightly softer grass, install a soft surface. These shock absorbing surfaces include shredded rubber, pea gravel, special safety mats, wood chips, sand, or mulch can make the difference in a trip to the emergency room and a minor fall.
5.) Cover hardware. All playground equipment has sharp, pointy, or hard aspects that are essential in the assembly of the set. Choose equipment that has covers that will ensure little ones are not cut or injured on this hardware. This is especially essential when it comes to the s-hooks and chains that attach swings, rings, bars, and other suspended elements.
6.) Measure ladders. Most playground equipment has a ladder of some sort. Ensure the child cannot become trapped between the ladder and the guardrails or between the rungs. This is critical to prevent children from becoming stuck or seriously injured. Be sure that spaces between guard rails or between runs should be less than 3.5 inches or greater than nine inches.
7.) Be aware of paint. Regardless if you have a metal set or a wooden set, most playground equipment comes with some type of paint or protective coating. Check the makeup of the paint or sealant to ensure the chemicals are not toxic or carcinogenic. Furthermore, some types of pressure treated wood contains creosote or other chemicals that are dangerous to humans of all ages, but especially toxic to children.
8.) Constant supervision. The best way to ensure safety on any playground equipment is to properly supervise any children while playing. Just as you would watch your child while playing on a set in the park, the same safety precautions should be taken in your own backyard.
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