Play it Safe: Keeping Outdoor Spaces Safe for Children

October 12, 2012 Outdoor Safety

For generations, there has been an energy surrounding swing sets, slides, see-saws and merry-go-rounds that attracts both the young and the young-at-heart. These things may not be considered traditional outdoor furniture, but these are the fixtures that your kids will enjoy the most.

So if you are thinking of revamping your outdoor space to install a play area for your children, here are some of the things you should consider:

1. Check the play area – The space where you will install or build your children’s play set will have to be canvassed and scanned thoroughly. This area should be clear of any hazardous items, loose rocks, nails, and other accident-prone debris. It also has to be a spot where you can see them from inside the house so you can keep a watchful eye when they are up and about.

A play area in the grass of this backyard would offer entertainment for the kids while the grown-ups lounge in the outdoor living area.

2. Choose kid-friendly materials – Kids can be very experimental with their surroundings, especially during the toddler stage. They will put anything in their mouths, and this can cause serious health issues. Never use or purchase materials that have lead in it. Check the labels just to be sure.

When purchasing play sets, check for any loose screws or bolts that easily come off. These are potential choking hazard for small children. Worse, kids can get cuts and bruises as a result of poorly-constructed sets.

3.  Double check the quality of the play set – Play sets are constructed with children’s safety in mind. However, being a parent, it is also your responsibility to set your own safety standards.

Check and re-check the whole set to see if there are any sharp edges. If there are, make sure that they can be covered with rubber to make it safer for children to use. Installing a rubber mat at the bottom of the slide will also help your child have a smooth and softer landing spot.

4.  Install safety railings – If the set you are purchasing includes a slide, your children will have to climb up to reach it. This is an accident waiting to happen, especially if you have small children running around and pushing each other to get to the top. Install safety railings to keep them from falling down.

5.  Schedule regular maintenance – Conduct weekly checks if the set needs repairs. Any loose part should be immediately repaired and attached. Dangling ropes should also be carefully attached.

Play areas help keep the kids entertained while you relax on the patio or bbq in your outdoor kitchen.  As long as these play areas are safe, they’ll make the backyard a fun place for the whole family.

Ashleigh Lynn is a writer for Open Brook, an excellent source of information and reviews about patio, garden and outdoor furniture .

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