Believe it or not, warmer days are on their way. And that means that it's time to wipe the dirt — and snow — off of your backyard play equipment and make sure that it's ready for another season of use. Winter can be rough on all parts of swing sets — plus slides, monkey bars, climbing walls, forts, and all sorts of backyard play gear. So, now is a good time to give all of your outdoor play equipment a once-over, to size up any repairs that may need to be made and make sure that everything is safe for your kids to use.
This safety-proofing checklist was sent to me by Swing-N-Slide, and I thought it would be a good one to share. Here's how to make sure that your backyard play equipment is ready for play:
Before they play...
- Check all metal parts for rust or other deterioration
- Provide your children with a soft landing – proper surfacing is key
- Replace any deteriorated parts with new parts
- Lubricate metallic moving parts
- Check all protective coverings on bolts, pipes, edges and corners — and replace if loose, cracked or missing
- Tighten all hardware
- Cut off all protruding threaded ends of bolts and other fasteners and remove any sharp edges
- Ensure equipment is on level ground, no less than 6 feet from any structure or obstruction such as a fence, garage or tree
- Adjust all swings for a minimum 8-inch clearance between the swing and the ground surface
- Use a water seal on your gym set to protect wood and prevent cracking and warpingDuring play season...
- Check all nuts and bolts twice monthly for tightness and tighten as required.
- Oil all metallic moving parts monthly
- Check all hardware and equipment for sharp edges twice monthly
- Check swing seats and chains monthly during the usage season for evidence of deterioration
- Remind your children of safe play rules including appropriate swinging space, sharing with others and being polite to other children
Related toy safety story on MNN: Toy Safety: Were these toys ever a good idea?