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Playground Swing Safety

By Lakshmy Nair ; Updated June 13, 2017
Man pushing his son on swing on playground.

Children frequently injure themselves on playground swings. The risks include falls from a swing and being hit by a moving swing. A few precautions can go a long way to adequately protect children and prevent injury as they play on the swings. Monitor all playground equipment for structural integrity before your children use it.

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Placement and Arrangement of Swings

Swings and other moving playground equipment must have enough clear space around them and must be located in a designated area of the playground. The American Academy of Pediatrics says a minimum distance of two feet between swings is necessary. A single section or bay must not contain more than two seat swings or a single tire swing. There must be a distance of at least six feet between a wall or a fence and the side of a swing. The distance between a swing and the sides of the support structure must be at least 30 inches, says KidsHealth. Swings for babies and toddlers must have a separate bay. Swings made of hard materials such as wood or metal are not as safe as plastic or rubber swings.

Fall Zones

The National Network for Child Care says a fall zone will protect children if they fall from playground equipment. A fall zone is the area under and around equipment, and should be covered with a protective material that acts as a cushion and lowers the impact of falls. According to NNCC, the fall zone before and behind a swing must be equal to or greater than the height of the suspending structure. The fall zone must also extend a minimum distance of six feet from the support structure on both sides. Before your child gets on the swing, check the fall zone for any objects or obstacles.

Safe Use of Swings

Familiarize your children with basic rules to keep them safer on the swings. Children must not push each other when they are on moving playground equipment such as a swing or seesaw. Standing or kneeling on swings is dangerous and can lead to falls and injuries. Children must hold on tightly with both hands when they are swinging, and get off only when the swing has stopped moving. Only one child must sit on a swing at a time. To avoid getting hit by a swing, children and adults must keep a safe distance and avoid standing, walking or running close to moving swings.

Possible Hazards

Open hooks or protrusions on swing equipment make potential entanglement hazards and can also pinch or scratch the skin. Avoid swings with open S hooks, which can entangle clothing and potentially strangle a child. Do not let your children use playground equipment that has missing or loose components, exposed nails or sharp surfaces.

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About the Author

Lakshmy Nair has been a professional writer since 2004 and has worked for companies such as Lionbridge Technologies, Mumbai, India and Rand Worldwide, Mississauga, Canada. She holds an engineering degree from the University of Mumbai, India and a certification in technical communications from George Brown College, Toronto, Canada.

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