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How to Anchor a Playset

By Larry Davis ; Updated April 18, 2017
Anchor playsets securely to prevent accidental tipping.

A handbook for outdoor playset safety, produced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, advises adults to anchor play equipment securely to prevent child injuries. The handbook stresses that consumers should follow the manufacturer's instructions for anchoring playsets correctly. While some sets come with anchoring systems, others might not. Used or homemade equipment will not have anchors. Anchoring stakes come in several type. Adults should choose the type that will hold up to rigorous play. It should also hold well for the type of surface on which the equipment is being placed.

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Home Playgrounds

Set the assembled playset on level ground in a safe play area. Plan the placement of the play equipment so it is a safe distance from other playthings, fences, houses or porches. Check also that a child using the playset will not be near a tree branch, power line or pole, driveways or streets.

Choose the anchor type you wish to use. Pole-type anchors are simply rods that are pushed into the ground. You can choose straight or curved rods. Auger anchors screw into the ground and have at least one "auger" along the length of the steel rod to keep the anchor from pulling out of the ground.

Push the hook end of an anchor through each anchoring hole on the playset. Check all the swingset and climbing area legs, the slide supports, ladder posts and any other supporting part that reaches the ground. Alternately, use an anchor-attachment if included with the anchor set. Place the hook or bolt-end of the attachment through each hole on the playset and hook the attachment to the anchor securely with the included bolts. Drill holes in the metal or wooden legs and supports if there are no pre-drilled holes.

Push the pole-type anchor into the ground surface, angling it toward the play equipment for more stability. Twist an auger-type anchor into the ground. Whichever anchor type you use, make sure it is pushed or twisted into the ground until no part sticks up to cause a tripping hazard. Consider anchoring the playset more securely with concrete, especially if you own your home and plan to use the play equipment for a long period of time. Dig a hole around each anchor and pour in quick-setting concrete.

School or Park Playgrounds

Check for public playground regulations before installing a playset in a park or other public area.

Set anchors, as well as several inches of the main playground equipment legs, into concrete if the equipment will go on a dirt surface. Keep the concrete flush to the ground.

Use commercial anchors to set play equipment on a hard surface such as concrete or asphalt. Cover the anchor system with the playground cover material.

Things You Will Need

  • Anchor set
  • Drill
  • Concrete mix
  • Commercial anchor kit (optional)

Warning

Do not use anchors that are not meant to withstand the rigorous play of children on equipment. Avoid narrow metal tent stakes, plastic stakes and wooden stakes.

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About the Author

Larry Davis has worked in the safety and environmental field since 1975, writing for "Chevron Review" and other professional magazines. He wrote monthly columns for "Heavy Equipment News" and has written safety programs and training materials. He holds two bachelor's degrees, a master's degree in safety and earned his doctorate in safety engineering, studying under professors from the University of Iowa and Texas A&M University.

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