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Swing Set Safety

  • 10 Safety Tips for a Wood Swing Set

    There's nothing better than watching the little ones laugh and play on the backyard playset. And knowing your wood swing set is sturdy and secure simply adds to this satisfaction! Here are the top 10 safety features every backyard swing set should have.

    1. Sanded wood with rounded edges

    To avoid splinters and other minor injuries, your swing set should be free of any rough surfaces. A good way to ensure this is to purchase a playset with wood that's already sanded and rounded on the edges. This way, maintaining the smooth surface will be relatively easy in the years to come.

    2.Recessed, tightened hardware

    All of our wood swing sets feature recessed hardware, a standard set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS). We know how important it is to eliminate anything that your child's clothing could catch on. At Eastern Jungle Gym, we highly recommend you make sure the swing set you buy has recessed hardware. If you've already purchased a swing set that has protruding hardware, consider replacing the hardware, or simply remind the kids to not wear loose or baggy clothing. Also, be mindful to perform annual checks on the swing set to make sure the bolts are tightened properly.

    3. Bolts, not nails or staples

    Your wood swing set should have only bolts to connect the pieces and parts together. Zero nails or staples should be used to construct your swing set. Nails and staples are simply too weak and they also stick out from the wood, creating a safety hazard for the children playing on it.

    4. In-tact accessories and activity areas

    If your swing set has been in use for several seasons, it is a good idea to check and make sure the accessories are intact. Look for pulls or tears in the canopy tent top, make sure any playground rope is in good condition, refill the sandbox if necessary, check the wood for additional sanding, etc.

    5. A soft surface

    The surface on which a swing set sits is oftentimes an afterthought for shoppers, who assume grass is good enough. The best option is a rubber mulch surface. Rubber mulch has a terrific ability to absorb shock, whereas over time, grass loses its ability to do so.

    6. Proper handles

    Anytime your child is climbing, he or she needs somewhere safe to grip. That's why we install grab handles at the tops of our ladders and rock walls. This way the youngster has a place to grab when he or she enters the clubhouse. If your swing set didn't come with this feature, grab handles may be purchased online. We also recommend larger grab handles to run along the side of the stairs. They're very easy to install, too!

    7. Enclosed clubhouse

    The clubhouse of your wood swing set should have walls wherever there is a no activity area. A safety rail is necessary for spaces where there is a slide, ramp or ladder that meets the deck of the clubhouse. The wall should have rungs that are about an inch to an inch-and-a-half apart.

    8. Separate the monkey bars and swings

    The CPCS and the American Society for Testing and Materials recommend monkey bars that do not have swings attached. When you are purchasing your swing set, make sure the monkey bars are separated away from the swings. A good example to display this is our Dreamscape 3 Outdoor Swing Set.

    9. Slides with high sides

    Your wood swing set should have a slide that features high side rails to ensure that the child is secure as he or she slides down. Super scoop slides are perfect for smaller children because of their high sides.

    10. Check the open spaces

    Measure any open spaces the playset may have. Make sure open spaces on the swing set are either smaller than 3 1/2 inches or larger than 9 inches to be certain a young child cannot fit his or her head through.

    It is important to be aware of these 10 points when purchasing a swing set for your child. After your purchase, continue to keep these tips in mind as you maintain your swing set and replace or add on accessories. If you have any questions about this article, give us a call!

  • Swing Set Safety & Maintenance Reminders

    The great weather we have been having is a pleasant reminder that spring will be here soon, which means now is the time to start sprucing up your swing set! This is also the perfect time for a refresher on swing set safety, so you and your family may have a fun and memorable play season.

    Wooden Swing Set Maintenance

    As the snow melts away and the temperatures rise, we recommend giving your playset a thorough once-over. Take your wrench outside and inspect bolts to be sure they don't need tightening. Check for rough spots on the swing set, especially on edges and corners, which may need sanding. Lastly, make sure all accessories are in good condition and not in need of replacing. This applies to everything from swings and clubhouse toys, like the steering wheel, to monkey bars and more. If you do find that some of the accessories need to be replaced, consider gifting them to your child for a birthday or Easter present.

    If you own a wooden swing set, it is important to keep it maintained. Pick a weekend to stain or seal the unit before spring is in full swing. Remember that you will need to let the stain or sealant dry for at least 24 hours, so make sure to get this out of the way early. That way, the kids won't miss a day of fun! We recommend staining or sealing annually in order to keep your swing set looking brand new.

    Wooden swing sets maintenance, swing set safety Wooden swing sets, like this Fantasy Tree House, are a perfect example of a swing set that should be stained or sealed annually.

    A way to help preserve your swing set from the harsh elements of the winter season is with a canopy or tent top over the clubhouse. These tops provide great assistance in protecting the wood for the long-term. With a canopy or tent top, the stain also stays maintained for longer.

    Another aspect to consider while revamping your children’s swing set for the spring is to inspect the rubber mulch play area. We recommend periodically raking up excess mulch around outer edges. In some high traffic areas, consider supplementing with an additional bag or two.

    The last step in making your swing set feel just like new is a quick cleaning of the plastic surfaces. Use a mixture of soap and water to remove any dirt that built up over the winter from the slide, swings, toys and other activities.

    Wooden Swing Set Safety

    Before the kids jump back on the jungle gym, give them a quick refresher of swing set safety tips. Remind them what type of clothing is appropriate. Keeping the kids aware of the proper play attire will help prevent their clothes from catching on any of the playset’s hardware if it is not recessed. This applies not just to the backyard, but also public settings, such as the school playground. We recommended bundling up and dressing for comfort. Some of our favorite suggestions include:

    • Wearing socks and sneakers
    • Avoiding clothing with strings, hoods, or scarves
    • Wearing fitted clothing that is not too baggy

    Now is also a great time to review any rules that you may have for your swing set. Having a set of rules for your children or visitors helps keep everyone safe during playtime. It is important to keep in mind that playing on a wet swing set may be hazardous depending on the material the swing set is made of. Use caution when holding playtime after any winter weather or rain. We recommend encouraging children to follow rules such as:

    • No climbing up the slide
    • No jumping off of the swing in mid air
    • No climbing on top of the monkey bars
    • No pushing others down the slide
    • No rough housing

    While you are outside performing any maintenance inspect the area around your swing set to make sure there are no fallen leaves or broken branches that may still be lingering around from fall. This will help to create an open play area for your little ones.

    While this may sound like a long list of things to do to prep for another season of fun, most of it can be done within a day. Make this a yearly ritual and take the opportunity to spend time together as a family while preparing your swing set for the upcoming season. We hope you and the little ones have a great spring, filled with lots of time outside. If you would like to read more about keeping your swing set safe, visit 10 Tips to Make Sure Your Wooden Swing Set is Safe. Share your questions on swing set safety and maintenance in the comments section below!

  • Swing Set Mulch: The Best Play Area Surfacing

    Swing Set Mulch: A Safe, Long-Lasting Surfacing Option

    For parents interested in buying a backyard jungle gym, swing set mulch is typically an afterthought. Moms and dads typically see safety features and construction as the two biggest deciding factors (rightly so!). But swing set surfacing -- which parents often overlook because it exists outside the jungle gym-- is one of the most important aspects of playground safety.

    The Recommendations

    Jungle gyms need a shock-absorbing surface so that children have a safe place to run, jump and play. They should never be installed on concrete or asphalt. During our 25 years' of experience, we have installed plenty of jungle gyms on grass. Still, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends using one of the following: wood mulch, chips, shredded rubber (mulch), sand or pea gravel. Our favorite of these options is rubber mulch.

    Why We Love Swing Set Mulch: 5 Reasons

    • It's eco-friendly. Rubber mulch is an environmentally responsible choice, as it is made -- in the USA -- from recycled tires.
    • It's long-lasting. Unlike wood mulch, sand or gravel, swing set mulch is made of rubber, so it has a nice weight to it. That means it is less likely to float or fly away. It also need to be replenished less often than other surfacing materials.
    • It's available in five colors. Whether you want to go natural, neutral or bright, there's a rubber mulch shade for your backyard. Or allow your child to choose as a way to customize his or her jungle gym. Color options include black, forest green, cocoa brown, royal blue and red.
    • It drains well. Swing Set mulch does not retain moisture. Plus, it dries quickly, so the kids can get back out to their jungle gym after the rain passes.
    • Pests are not a problem. Unlike other surfacing options, swing set mulch does not attract vermin, insects, bugs or termites.

     

    On top of all that, swing set mulch is recognized by experts for its safety. Click here to learn more about rubber swing set mulch, and don't hesitate to contact us with questions!

     

     

  • Building a Wooden Playset with the Whole Family

    When was the last time you and the kids bonded over a family project? Enjoying laughs, working through challenges and finally accomplishing your goal with your son or daughter leaves you with memories that will last a lifetime. And, depending on the project, you'll likely have a finished product that will yield even more fun times for years to come.

    That's certainly the case when it comes to building a wooden playset for the backyard. Depending on the model you've selected (and its complexity), getting the kids involved may seem a bit challenging. But not to worry -- there are plenty of ways to get the little ones to help out safely. Here are a few suggestions:

    • Safety first -- Teach your children how to make sure all safety precautions are taken before embarking on a construction project. This means having the proper equipment (safety goggles, gloves and sneakers, or another type of closed-toe shoe) and the appropriate work space; making sure any lumber you've picked up at the local hardware store is sanded and free of splinters; etc. Communicate all of this to your kids during a "safety talk" before you get started on the wooden playset. Be sure to mention that power tools can be dangerous, so it's important they stay away from these items unless otherwise instructed.
    Little girl using drill on swing set bracket Whether it's cleaning up, learning about safety precautions, organizing hardware or learning how to use the drill (with adult supervision, of course), the kids will have a blast helping to build a wooden playset for the backyard.
    • Have the kids organize the hardware -- Before getting started, gather all of the hardware you'll need and ask your children to sort through it. Have them place all the bolts in one pile, the washers in another, the caps in another and so on. Then, once you start assembling, your kids can have them ready at your request. This activity will help them learn all about the different parts of the swing set, and they'll get an up-close look at the construction as mom or dad's assistant.
    • Let them try their hand at assembling -- Since you will be supervising the activity, there's no harm in allowing your child to try using the drill, provided he or she is the appropriate age and you have modeled the correct usage several times. Just guide the youngster along and you should have no problem.
    • Have them take care of the finishing touches -- Whether it's helping them up the ladder to hang the swing or handing them a rake to smooth the rubber playground mulch around the set, the kids will love the privilege of being responsible for the finishing touches.
    • Clean up -- There's nothing children love more than a game, so factor in the spirit of competition and see who can clean up the most! Instruct the kids to gather up any boxes, and make sure all the pieces of hardware are picked up and placed in their respective bags.
    • Test out the product -- It's the moment they've been waiting for! Once the wooden playset is assembled and cleanup is finished, it's time for the kids to try out their new swing set! We recommend having a camera on hand so you can capture the excitement as they hop on the swings and swoosh down the slide for the very first time!
  • What to Look for in Swing Set Accessories

    When it comes to your kids, you want only the best -- the safest, strongest, highest quality, and so on. Here at Eastern Jungle Gym, we share the same philosophy, which is why we make sure everything from our playsets to our hardware to our swing set accessories are top notch.

    With spring's arrival (and summer's not too far off), we wanted to share a few tips on what to look for in a swing set accessory, to ensure that the products you're buying are designed with your child's well-being in mind. Here's what we suggest:

    -- UV-protection: Swing set accessories that are equipped with built-in protection against ultraviolet rays won't heat up as quickly in the summer sun as accessories that lack UV protection. This feature also adds to the life of your playset, as the color of the items (tent top canopies, swings, slides and more) won't fade as quickly.

    -- Ladders with grab handles: If you're thinking about building a wooden step ladder or adding one to your backyard playground, be sure to include a set of safety grab handles. These aren't as necessary on ladders that have rungs, as the kids can use the rungs to hold onto. But with step ladders, they're a must! We suggest grab handles that have pebbles or grips to ensure the kids get a secure hold.

    -- Coated swing chains: To avoid pinched fingers, your swing chains should be of the straight-coil variety, with a soft coating (like plastisol) covering part of the chain to protect their little hands.  A coating will provide a soft surface for them to grip. We recommend the rings on your gym ring trapeze bar combo be coated in a soft plastic, too, for the same reasons.

    Bucket swing for baby This full bucket swing features plastisol coating, one of the things you should look for when buying swing set accessories.

    -- Avoid magnified binoculars or telescopes: Toy binoculars and telescopes are best for the swing set, as the children won't damage their eyes by looking up at the sun through a magnified view.

    --  Inspect different swings for safety: If you're purchasing a baby swing, make sure it's a full bucket with a high back, so your little one is properly supported. For the half bucket swings, which many people use for their toddlers, not only should there be a high back, but also a strong chain that secures in front of the child. This chain should always be latched when your youngster is swinging. And with a tire swing, it's best to use an actual tire rather than a hard, plastic one.

    -- Playground rope: The last thing you want is a rope that irritates your child's hand, or splinters and frays. For this reason we recommend playground rope (which is used on everything from gang plank ramps to Jacob's Ladders) be made of nylon, rather than polyester.

    -- Climbing holds for the rock wall: Whether you're constructing your own rock climbing wall for the kids, or buying a swing set that features one, it's a good idea to consider the number of rock holds. If your children are young, you may want to consider adding some additional holds, so they are gathered somewhat close together. Once your kids are a bit older and their skill level allows, you can remove a few to make the activity more challenging.

    We hope you've found this blog post informative. Please feel free to send any questions about swing set accessories (or anything else playset-related!) our way!

  • Ten Tips to Make Sure Your Wooden Swing Set is Safe

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    Swing sets add so much to a child's life. They allow for activity and exercise; they promote socialization by allowing many youngsters to play at once, cooperating and problem-solving together; and they give kids something to look forward to outdoors.

    For parents, swing sets keep the kids busy, freeing up the afternoons for chores--or even better, some relaxation. What's more relaxing than knowing your kids are having fun playing on a swing set in your backyard? Knowing the kids are having fun playing on a safe swing set. Below is a list of things to keep in mind if you are looking for a strong, durable wooden swing set.

    1. Protective Surfacing: A safe swing set needs a safe surfacing, such as rubber mulch, to lay beneath and around the equipment. Grass and turf are not options, as they do not have the ability to absorb shock, according to The US Consumer Product Safety Commission. A swing set should never be built on asphalt or concreteThe experts at Best in Backyards recommend at least three inches of rubber mulch on your playground surface. Click here to read the CPCS's guidelines on other materials, such as bark mulch, wood chips, fine sane and fine gravel.

    2. The Six Feet Rule: There should be at least six feet of unobstructed space surrounding the swing set in all areas. This is called the use zone, and, to prevent interference, it should be clear of any fencing, rock walls, trees, shrubs or other equipment.

    3. Level Area: When placing your cedar swing set, be sure the area is level. This will maximize the swing set's activities and surfacing materials.

    4. Recessed Hardware: All hardware should be countersunk so the bolt caps sit inside the wood, rather than on top. This method means loose clothing is less likely to catch. Plastic caps are not recommended as they can fall off or break over time.

    5. Edges and Sanding: All of the wood parts should be sanded smooth. The edges and corners should be rounded, too. This helps to prevent splintering, and it helps the kids avoid minor abrasions.

    6. Coatings: Ropes and chains are safer when they are coated in some sort of soft material. For example, swing chains should be heated, primed and plastisol-coated for a safe, smooth grip and no pinching.

    7. Stain or Sealer: To maintain the wood's natural beauty and prevent checking, cracking or splintering, an application of clear wood sealer or semi-transparent stain should be applied on an annual basis.

    8. Maintenance: Check all hardware annually.

    9. Upkeep: Replace accessories and tent tops if necessary.

    10. Replenish: If you have wood mulch make sure you refill it regularly as it will compact and deteriorate over the years. Sand or other loose fill should be raked and "fluffed" up.

  • Swing Set Safety #2

    Swing Set Safety #2

    When it comes to your children’s happiness, you’re the pro. You know what makes them giggle with glee, or pout in misery. You are also the one that knows what puts an automatic smile on their face any time you suggest it—their swing set! However, there’s no worst rude awakening than when your child is swinging on their swing set one minute, and wincing out in pain the next. Keep them safe, happy and loving every second they spend swinging and sliding by applying the following rules. Then, everyone in your family can rest assured, stay safe and sound.

    Teach Your Children the Right Way to Swing

    It’s easy to get so distracted by your children’s excitementover their brand new swing set,  that you forget about the most important thing—their safety. Whether your kids are playing at an indoor play area, or your very own backyard, safety comes first each and every time. Surprising your children with a new swing set, such as the Supremescape Swing set from Eastern Jungle Gym is an exhilarating moment for any family, but remember: safety first!

    Acclimate your children to the “Do” and “Don’t” rules of their swing set. Spend a few moments teaching them about the right way to swing (facing forward with both hands on the chains, etc.) as opposed to the “wrong” way (jumping off in mid-air, etc.)

    Make Swinging a Fun Family Affair

    When it comes to children, accidents can and do happen. It’s inevitable—a trip on the slippery floor here, or a bump on their head, there. So, when it comes to swing set safety, the number rule you should always commit to is supervision at all times. Even with safe, top of the line equipment that you’ll find on all Best in Backyards swing sets, they can’t protect you from a slip, misstep or fall, all of which can be prevented with consistent supervision.

    Make their ‘swing time’ a family affair! Sure, it’s just your backyard, but treat it like you’re going to park and have hours of fun. Pack their favorite snacks and juice. Watch their faces light up as you applaud them as they slide down, racing their sibling to the finish line!

    Check all Swings, Chains and Bolts for Tightness

    Over time, some swing set hardware can loosen. And, when wet, it can become slippery, causing young ones to injure themselves easily. It’s important before every play session, that you survey your swing set for any signs of safety risk. Wipe down slippery surfaces, such as on the slide, swing and ladders. Once a month, search for visible signs of loosening. Then, look down! The most common area for children to injure themselves is because of slippery surfaces. There’s no time like the present—order our rubber mulch (the safest surfacing around!)—for an eco-friendly, smart choice. Available in a variety of colors, they go perfectly with your backyard equipment! Then sit back and relax. You’ve done your part to keep everyone in your family happy and out of harm’s way.

  • Safety Tips for Kids Playing Outdoors

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    Safety Tips for Kids Playing Outdoors

    If your child is always on the move, consider yourself lucky. That means that your child is healthy, happy and as curious about life as they should be! Whether your child loves splashing in puddles of rain during the fall, making snow angels in wintertime, or lying down in the grass as she basks in the sun of summer, you’re main concern (year round) is keeping them as safe as possible.  We’ve put together a cheat sheet for you, so that no matter time of the year it is, your kids stay happy and healthy without risk of injury!

    Scan Your Backyard For Danger and Risk 

    It’s easy for your children to break a rule about playing safely outside—especially when they aren’t clear on what those rules are! You may think because your children are playing in your backyard, that they’re out of harm’s way—but as you well know, children always need supervision. As active as they are, an injury or accident can happen in a split second, but you can significantly reduce their risk by surveying your backyard before they start playing.

    It only takes a minute to be on the lookout and search out possible risks that could turn their playtime into harm. During wintertime, look for ice on your patio that may cause a slip. During the summer months, scan the ceilings and corners of your foundation (as well as swing set and treehouse) for bee hives. Take a look at your swing set. Is their snow or sleet on the slide? Do you swings need to be wiped down so your children can enjoy them without risk of slipping off? Point them out and tell your children there are a few “off limits” areas of the backyard they need to stay away from.

    Keep an Eye on Them (Even When You Can’t)

    If you need to go inside occasionally while your children are outside, set up a baby monitor—even if your kids are older and are well past the infant stage. If you aren’t staying outside supervising every minute they’re sliding and swinging, this can be a great tool to ensure they’re safe and out of danger.  Even during the winter months, kids can play outside for hours on end. Ultimately, children are quick to get dehydrated and run down (even if it seems like they are they could go all day!) Monitor how long they play. Set up breaks for water and a snack periodically so that they don’t run their body ragged and maintain a positive attitude with their playmates.

    Whether you choose a swing set from our Sky Swing series or our Imagination Swing Set Series, you’ll love the change in activity and enthusiasm it brings out in your children. We believe in our product, and after our guys deliver and install it for you  we know you’ll believe in our product too! Have fun out there and be safe.

  • Safety Surfacing For Your Swing Set

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    Safety Surfacing For Your Swing Set

    In the eyes of your children, their playground is their get away. It’s the place where they always have a fun time with their siblings and friends, and most importantly, it’s their safe haven. We believe it should be yours too, because you can never be too safe when it comes to your children.

    You know that your children are going to love their cedar swing set. Just like you did as a child, they’ll spend hours jumping, swinging, sliding and spinning their way down the slide, and climbing on the monkey bars. That’s their job—to make memories. But keep them safe with the most environmentally safe, and durable surfacing—that’s your job!

    One of the Safest Playground Mulch on the Market

    Unlike some other mulches and alternative safety surfacing, rubber mulch won’t retain moisture after a heavy rain or snow storm—and it won’t easily blow away, either. Made from 100 percent recycled rubber tiles, you can feel great about your eco-friendly, injury proof purchase! Cater to your children’s personal tastes by picking from five different colors (or mix and match your heart out!):  Black, Forest Green, Cocoa Brown, Royal Blue and Red.

    Whether you have one or a soccer team worth of children in our household, you know how fast accidents can happen. When you supervise your children as they play on their swing set, it’s not always enough to keep them safe and out of harm’s way. Land on hard surfacing such as concrete or wood chips, and they could sprain their ankle or knee—which puts a real damper on the day.

    Rubber mulch is a simple fix for all of your safety concerns, and is so resilient against harsh winter conditions; it’s your year-round solution for safe play! Since it doesn’t decompose, you don’t have to worry about maintenance or costly refilling your mulch. Purchase it once, and never have to worry about it again.

    Whatever surfacing you decided on doing it’s going to make your swing set play area safer and that means happier kids.

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