Swing sets come in a variety of sizes and materials. Before you make any purchase, you should read these guidelines to ensure the safety and happiness of your children.
1. Measure the Size of Your Yard
You don't know how many returns have to be made due to a swing set being too big for a backyard upon bringing it back home. Measuring the size of your backyard should be the first thing you do before everything else. Think of where you intend to place the swing set. Will you still have space for other activities? Is there enough room for the dog and children to run around or ride bikes ? Any pool expansion in the future? These should all be considered before you get a swing set. You will thank yourself for planning this out in the future. So MEASURE!
2. Swing Set Features
The basic features of a swing set will usually include a swing and a slide. In terms of swing, there is the baby swing, the glider or half-bucket swing for babies/toddlers and then there are the buoy balls, tire swings and sling swings for the older children. There are so many more, such as monkey bars, ropes, tunnels, tires, forts and even sandboxes. Think of what your children will like. Bring them to a park or a neighbor's house to test first and see what they like. This will help you to choose the right swing set.
It is always best to look for baby and toddler features that can be converted as your child grows. It is always a good idea to get double swings so that children can swing at the same time without having to take turns! One extra tip: tire swings are more likely to collect rainwater which may invite nesting insects such as wasps so make sure regular cleaning is done if you're getting one.
3. Construction Materials
The most common materials found in swing sets are plastic and wood. The formal is less expensive and there is no need to worry about splinters, wasps and constant maintenance, while the latter is environmental friendly and easy to repair. If budget is a factor, plastic is your go-to choice because they are generally less expensive but is still very safe. Note though, you will not be able to customize as freely as you want with plastic models.
With wood, there are several types with redwood and cedar (red or yellow) being the most preferred options due to their strength and durability. Redwood and cedar are resistant to rotting and they are less likely to draw insects. Try to avoid pine wood because it tends to deteriorate quickly. In fact, some models have been recalled by manufacturers due to the rotting elements resulting to fall hazards for children. You do not want that, so choose carefully!
4. Product Meets Safety Standards
Generally, there are no mandatory standards that manufacturers must follow. It is therefore your responsibility as parents to safeguard your children against poorly made swing sets. Here are what you should look out for:
- Make sure there are no openings less than 3.5 inches or greater than 9 inches (to prevent head entrapment)
- No metal slides. This can cause a burning sensation on children's skin if weather is hot and there may be cutting hazard near sharp edges.
- Make sure there are no swings hanging from monkey bars. This is to prevent entanglement.
- Check that there are no moving parts that may pinch or crush fingers. A common place to look for are toddler gliders and swings with removable trays.
5. Read Reviews
Do your homework. We cannot stress enough how important it is that you read as many customer reviews as you can before you buy any product. You will be able to find out more by reading about other's people real-life experience, what they like, what they don't, what are they complaining about etc. There are tons of reviews about swing sets just with a simple click on the Internet, or alternatively, check this one out!