When it comes to playground sets safety must come first. Wood swing sets are your wisest choice because they are simply more durable than plastic or metal. They are rooted into the ground, they don’t fall over easily, unlike metal swing sets that become giant rockers after a winter or two and they don’t snap and break like plastic. In fact both metal and plastic can develop seams and cracks that you cannot see and that can eventually break.
Yet another thing to consider is that wood can support a lot of weight, and that means it can support the weight of growing children. Even adolescents can’t resist swinging off the trapeze on wood swing sets. Wood swing sets have triple joints and also bolts that often slide completely through the wood in a way that is embedded. This means that if something does happen to compromise the structure the bolts will still keep the lagging structure together. Your child is not in danger of collapsing and falling like they would be if they were standing at the top of a plastic or metal set.
Another thing to consider is that wooden swing sets are not made of toxic materials. Plastic materials give off gas fumes that can be toxic, especially in really hot weather.
A big part of accident prevent is choosing playground sets that are age appropriate. The great thing about today’s wood playground sets is that you can assemble them in components that suit your child’s age. To have fun your child does not have to go up a ten foot metal ladder and risk a fall. You can get a five foot slide that attaches to a fort-like or tent-like enclosure that is lower and offers less of a drop should your child slip.
Yet another way to prevent accidents is to make sure that any swings on the set are at least 22 inches apart. This prevents them from clashing with each other when two children are swinging on the set at once.
Quality playground sets have guidelines that tell you what components are appropriate for what age. For instance a climbing wall is more suited for a kid over age seven rather than a toddler. Tire swings suit ten-year-olds better than little seats with bucket swings.
Finally, it is a good idea to make the area beneath playground seats a bit softer by placing it in a “bed” of cedar chips or shredded rubber. Make a rule that the area must be kept free of any clutter, such as branches, skateboards and toys, as a falling or slipping child might risk injury.
Author: Todd Leavitt