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Safety tips for backyard fun.

A girl sliding down a slide in the backyard .

Swing sets, trampolines and jungle gyms — all of this backyard equipment can give kids hours of outdoor fun. However, to help ensure that a piece of equipment doesn't become a hazard, it needs to be well-maintained and used appropriately. Keep the following tips in mind:

General Safety Tips for Swing Sets, Trampolines and Jungle Gyms

  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends making sure that the surface around equipment is covered in 9 to 12 inches of wood chips, sand, mulch or pea gravel to help prevent injuries from slips and falls,. Alternatively, you can cover it with thick mats made of safety-tested rubber. This protective surfacing should extend 6 feet or more in all directions from the equipment.
  • Make sure the equipment is securely fastened to the ground.
  • Regularly inspect the equipment for damage. Be on the lookout for things like rusted metal, cracked or splintered wood, and nails sticking out. If anything is broken or worn, have it repaired before allowing your child to use it again.
  • Always make sure there's an adult present when your child is playing. As KidsHealth explains, having an adult nearby helps to ensure that children use equipment properly and play safely. And in the unfortunate event that an accident happens, the adult will be on hand to assist as needed.
  • Don't allow your child to wear clothes with drawstrings or anything else that could get caught in the equipment.
  • Remember that metal and plastic backyard equipment can get very hot during the summer. This can lead to serious burns. Always test the surface temperature of the equipment before allowing your child to play on it.

Swing Sets

  • Provide sufficient clearance. According to HealthyChildren.org, the cleared distance should be twice the height of the suspending bar, both in front of and behind the swing. Walls and fences should be 6 feet or more away.
  • Only allow one child per swing.
  • Don't allow your child to stand up on the swing. Make sure he or she sits down and holds on with both hands.

Trampolines

  • Place the trampoline in an area that's free of obstacles such as walls and trees. Make sure it's at ground level since this will reduce the chance of injury if your child falls.
  • Mayo Clinic advises installing a trampoline enclosure, which is a net that goes around the trampoline and helps prevent falls.
  • Don't allow children younger than 6 years old to use the trampoline.
  • Allow only one child on the trampoline at a time.

Raised Playhouses, Dome Climbers, Jungle Gyms and Other Climbers

  • Choose a climber that has a safety rail around its platform(s).
  • Avoid equipment with netting since small children can get stuck in it.
  • The National Safety Council advises against letting children younger than 4 years old play on climbers.
  • Always show children a safe way to get down from the structure before allowing them to play on it. This can help reduce any anxiety and falls.


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