For years during summer, American families throng public playgrounds to let their children have some fun in the swing, climbing structures, and slides. However, at times, visiting a public playground may be too laborious.
You see, loading and unloading kids from the car can make even the shortest trips seem backbreaking. Sometimes, you don’t even want your children to spend a whole day at the playground but rather have a few minutes of fun as you prepare something for them to eat. It is during such times that investing in a backyard play set makes perfect sense.
But, just like any other baby product, you want a set that works for your kids while keeping them safe at the same time. Backyard play sets come in all manner of shapes and sizes not to mention that they’re available in different materials. Some units are cheap, while high-end units will cost you a couple of thousands of dollars. It, therefore, means that you should do your due diligence before settling on any particular set. Via: childhood101.com
As a rule of thumb, you should always choose a high-quality play set that professes years of use. Your child’s safety should always come first so you’d better check the features as well.
…Speaking of Which, Here, are Some Safety Tips to Help You Get the Most out of Your Playset
Ensure That You Cover the Ground
According to the statistics released by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, an estimated 200,000 children get injuries while on private and public playgrounds annually. A majority of these injuries are as a result of fall on the uncovered ground. To reduce the risk of injury, be sure to cover the play area with rubberized mulch, pea gravel or bark.
Clear the Ground to Remove Entrapment Risks
While a backyard play set is supposed to provide loads of fun, you should make sure that it is free of things that would expose your kids to injury such as climbing nets. If there’s to be any opening above the ground, then it should not be less than nine and a half inches to reduce the likelihood of entrapment.
Carry Routine Maintenance on the Playset
By use, a play set will break down, so you need to inspect it on a regular basis. Replace the missing parts and be on the lookout for peeling paint, rotten wood or corroded metal. Ensure that the slides are safe and smooth before allowing your kids to use them.
Let a Professional Install Your Play Set
Let’s face it; putting up a play set takes a whole lot of work, and it’s not one of the easiest things to do if you don’t have the skills. Thus, to avoid second guessing, consider using the services of a professional to install it for you. Just don’t gamble with your child’s safety and wellbeing while on the play set.
…With the Playset in Place, these Care Tips Will Come in Handy
Reseal and Clean the Wood
A play set requires a makeover once every few years. So, give the wood a light clean and apply some paint for a fresh look. Of course, the kids will appreciate the set more if it looks good. Plus, you get to spot broken parts that you may have missed during the routine maintenance.
Tighten the Bolts
Make sure that you tighten the bolts and screws to counter the effects of contraction and expansion of the wood due to temperature changes. To keep the play set in good working condition, consider doing so at least once every month, more so when the weather is warm. Check other parts to ensure that they’re tight too.
…That Said, Here’s what to Consider When Buying a Backyard Playset
The Playset’s Longevity
The ideal backyard play set should outlast your child’s play needs age by age. Therefore, when choosing the play set, consider the little one’s needs a couple of years to come and go for a unit that offers the same. You certainly don’t want to purchase a play set that your toddler will outgrow in a year or two.
Go for Something with a Classic Appeal
You want a play set that will remain usable, year in and year out. You’re better off with traditional units such as glides, slides, and swings instead of fancy units such as rock climbing walls. Your child will be more appreciative of a classic play set as long as it provides the entertainment that they’re looking for. As a parent, you should know that it doesn’t take too much to impress the little ones.
Choose High-Quality Wood
Whenever possible, stick to redwood or cedar. Avoid fir, spruce or pressure treated pine. For starters, redwood and cedar don’t have chemical traces and as such are safe for the kids. They’re also relatively durable and tend to remain sturdy over time. They don’t decay or rot and perform better in comparison to treated wood.
Consider the Number of Kids Who’ll be using the Playset
If you have two children, for instance, there’s no need of getting more than two swings. On the other hand, if you’re expecting a small army of children you’d better get a play set that will accommodate all of them. You may get one with forts, monkey bars, sandboxes and so on so that they don’t compete for space.
Will the Playset be Supplemental?
When purchasing a backyard play set, you need to ask yourself whether it will be for occasional use or whether you want it to replace the need to go to the pack entirely. If the kids are using it infrequently, then you may want to go with something that offers just the basic “stations.”
Once you have an idea of what you want, find the best backyard play set based on your budgetary allocation. Play close attention to the dimensions to ensure that it will fit your yard. The Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests a barrier of six feet between playground equipment and structures such as fences and homes.