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Swing Set Safety

  • Swings for Your Backyard Swing Set

    Whether you’re dreaming up a terrific DIY swing set to build for the little ones or you’re simply looking to surprise the kids with a new accessory for their jungle gym, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different swings and accessories available. We have outlined the details of the different types of swings you can add to your swing set.

    High Back Full Bucket Swing 

    The high back full bucket swing is your child’s first swing. Designed to securely and safely hold an infant, this swing encloses the child 360-degrees and provides plenty of back support. You will get many years out of this swing, as it is suitable for infants and toddlers. We recommend children from 6 months to about 4 years old use this swing, depending on the size of the child.

    High Back Half Bucket Swing with Chain

    The half bucket swing with chain is a great transitional swing for your kids. It offers the same support of the full bucket swing in terms of a high back, but this time with a safety chain in front. This safety chain helps children get the feel of a real swing, while providing an added safety precaution. The recommended age range for this swing is about 2 to 6 years old.

    Sling Swing 

    The classic sling swing is what you and the kids see most often on your trips to the public park. A sturdy, high quality sling swing can support children and even most adults.

    Horse Glider Swing

    Unlike the swings described so far, which accommodate a single child at a time, the horse glider swing is designed for two. The kids sit back-to-back on the seat. There are handle bars for holding on and spaces for the children to place their feet. The kids love that the horse glider allows them to rock back and forth with a friend. With this swing, we suggest children be no younger than 2 years of age. The weight limit is typically about 200 pounds.

    Tire Swing

    The tire swing is always a hit with the kids. It can accommodate anywhere from one to three children, and is usually made with a rubber tire that has three or four chains attached. The tire swing will allow the children to swing around 360-degrees, so it requires a bit more space than any of the other swings listed here. The tire swing is a great activity for kids ages 2 and up.

    Three chain tire swing A three-chain tire swing makes a great addition to any backyard playground.

    Gym Ring/Trapeze Bar Combination Swing

    The gym ring/trapeze bar combo allows a child to swing and hang, and maybe even flip or perform a chin up. It’s constructed of a trapeze bar—ideally made of steel and coated in a soft plastic—with a grab handle on each side. The grab handles and the bar are attached to chains, which attach to a swing beam. Kids who use this swing can be anywhere from 3 years of age to 15.

    Swing Safety, Information, and DIY Details

    For maximum safety, we recommend that all plastic swings be made of a durable polymer plastic. All swings should include triangle hardware and S-hooks that attach to the seats. To ensure the safety of your little ones, we recommend heavy duty straight-coil chains with a soft coating (we always prefer you to use chains over rope). Look for swing chains that are coated in plastisol for a soft grip which will protect tiny fingers from getting pinched. These little extras can add up, but quality accessories are worth the investment.

    Don’t forget to take additional hardware into account. The first three swings mentioned in this piece would attach to a swing beam with ductile swing hangers and mountain clips. Whereas the tire swing uses a special swivel and the horse glider uses specific brackets. More often than not this type of hardware is not included with the swing. That will add to the price of the swing. The cost of the swings described here typically range from about $35 to about $120.

    No matter what type of swings you have in mind for your backyard play set, it is always a good idea to do your homework. Do consider what the product is made of, as it should be rust resistant and UV-protected. Also read up on reviews left by other customers. Remember, not all swings are made equal. Pay close attention to what type of chains or rope are used, how long they are, and how they are connected.

    Lastly, keep in mind that the ages we have listed here serve as a general guide. Some form of adult supervision is always recommended. If you are looking for more information on swings, watch our video to learn about the three swings for a wooden swing set.

  • 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!

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