Heather Olsen: Hi! I am Heather Olsen, and Im part of the team at the National Program for Playground Safety. Today Im discussing the basics of purchasing backyard playground equipments.
Every child wants a playground in their backyard, so as parents, where do you even begin to plan and purchase the equipment? Here are a few important tips that will help you plan a safe backyard play environment for your children. First; pick the flattest location in your yard, be sure that it is free from rocks and any fences or walls nearby. Playground equipment needs to have a Use Zone area where there are no barriers. The Use Zone area is defined as the area under and around a piece of playground equipment on to which a child falling from or exiting from the equipment would be expected to land. Always use maintenance pieces such as nuts and bolts that are recommended by the play equipment company. Hardware from local department stores have not been manufactured for home playground equipment use, and could not be manufactured to support a child playing. Once your play equipment is installed, make sure it is tied securely to the ground; unsecured equipment will tip and could result in a child getting injured. Children are constantly growing, intellectually, physically, so you want to keep them engaged while outside playing. When purchasing your equipment keep in mind how many play options are available, such as the number of ways to climb up and the difference of climbing experience and the number of play toys.
The more events or equipment you have available, the more your children will be interested in your playground; it will also give them a wide variety of ways to learn outside. Some of the most popular playgrounds are wood swing sets, they are easy to assemble with a little help and they can also last the longest. Metal swing sets can also endure a lot and last a long time. Always remember to give yourself enough room, at least 6 feet to have adequate Use Zones. Give the child plenty to room to fall into an area with no objects in the way. And lastly, most of you will have different age groups in your families, so be sure to have something for everyone. These tips will help steer you in the right direction, so you and your family can have a safe and enjoyable play environment right in your own backyard. Have fun and stay safe!