How to Decide Which Outdoor Playground Equipment is Best for Fun and Safety

Installing outdoor playground equipment in your own backyard is a great way to get the kids to play outside in a safe and secure environment. There are also many public playgrounds available, but sometimes they are overrun with rambunctious children or even kids obviously too old for playground equipment. Purchasing child playground equipment is definitely a worthwhile investment.

So what will one of these outdoor playground equipment sets cost you? Well, as you can image, the sky’s the limit! There are actually a variety of styles and price ranges available. But do be prepared to consider the child playground equipment an ‘investment.’ Also, if you are looking for something in particular, or maybe Junior has his or her heart set on a specific piece, almost all manufacturers are happy to assist with custom design.

Some residential outdoor playground equipment can be purchased for a few hundred dollars. For less than $100, you can purchase the ’shell,’ and then decide what to add. Meaning, after the initial $100 investment you will still need to purchase swings, slides and whatever else you might want. But, this starter playground may be the best choice for you and your family.

Maybe you’re not sold on the fact that Junior promises to play on it every day. Or you just are not ready to invest thousands. Either way, you can always add-on to your current model once you purchase the initial frame.

Eager to get the whole kit and caboodle? Well, you are in for a treat! The variety of style, color and options are endless when it comes to choosing the perfect outdoor playground equipment for your family. Be prepared to spend anywhere from $650 for a single tire swing to $6000 for the system with a large array of swings, slides, Tires and Monkey Bars. And to add on a Log Cabin for the kiddos, go a head and add on $3200 to the bill.

Yes, outdoor playground equipment can be expensive, very expensive. But it can also provide years of enjoyment for your children, their friends and any other young people who may just show up at your door step! But regardless of whether you decide to purchase a personal playground, or opt to visit one of the public playgrounds, there are a few safety tips to be aware of.

Public outdoor playground equipment is required to meet specific standards. However, home equipment is not under the same regulations. But it is always wise to have some sort of safety guidelines in mind when using playground equipment for the first time or before deciding on a purchase.

The following is a list of six basic questions to ask yourself before allowing your children to jump on unknown child playground equipment.

1. Are play zones overlapping?

What this asks is whether or not children on the swings can easily run into those coming down a slide or hit the children recovering from the tire swing. Each section of equipment should have its own ‘area’ or ‘zone.’

2. Can fingers, hands and heads fit in Unsafe Places?

A fun day at the playground is quickly cut short when someone twists a finger or catches their hair awkwardly. Railing slats should be far enough apart to avoid snagging fingers as children run by, but not so far that a head can fit through.

3. Is there hardware sticking out?

Obviously playgrounds must be secure, but quality child playground equipment will have recessed bolts and screws. But what about those capped covered bolts? They may look nice, but are easily popped off. So now, not only can a child cut themselves, they are now susceptible to a choking hazard if they put one of those caps in their mouth!

4. How is the ground around the playground equipment? Is it smooth, soft and level?

One of the most common causes of injury at a playground is because someone falls on a hard surface. Children are going to fall at the playground. Well-made playgrounds will be surrounded by wood chips or other soft substances.

5. How anchored is the equipment? There should be no ’sails.’

Properly anchored playgrounds are a must! If you see a tarp roof above the play deck you may notice a ’sail affect.’ Skip this playground as the tarp may cause the equipment to lift up.

6. Where are the children?!

One of the most important and easily enforced guidelines is to be able to monitor your children at all times. If you are uneasy with a ‘fort’ or ‘cabin’ since it completely eradicates visibility either don’t purchase one or find a new playground.

This outdoor playground equipment checklist is meant just as a guide of tips to keep in mind. Of course you will have your own set of concerns that may or may not mirror the ones listed above. Every parent wants to keep their child safe whether they are playing in their own backyard or on public child playground equipment. After all, the point is to have fun, right?

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