The swings are one of the most popular attractions on the playground. They give your child the thrill of speed and promote physical activity, too. Not all swings are safe, however. When they aren't properly installed or made from the right materials, they can pose an injury risk. Arm yourself with swing safety information so you can let your child enjoy herself on the playground without worrying that she'll get hurt.
Swings and Injuries
Swings cause the most injuries of any piece of moving playground equipment. In fact, 22 percent of all playground injuries are caused by swings, according to the Safe Kids USA website. Injuries can occur if your child falls off the swing, which can lead to bone fractures or breaks, scrapes, bruises and head injuries. Another danger, though uncommon, is strangulation by a swing's chains or ropes. Between 2001 and 2008, there were 40 deaths related to playground equipment, and 27 were because of hanging or asphyxiation, Safe Kids USA reports.
Identifying Safe Swings
You can identify a safe swing by keeping a few things in mind. Swings should be constructed from a soft material such as plastic, rubber or canvas. If the playground has more than one swing, they should be at least 2 feet apart to prevent children from slamming into one another while they swing. Further, only two swings should be hanging from each supporting framework, according to the Complete Children's Health website. If you're planning to let your baby or toddler swing, look for a swing that has a full bucket seat that will prevent him from falling out once the swing starts moving.
When to Skip Swings
Don't let your children play on swings that are made from wood or metal -- they can cause injuries if they hit a child at a high rate of speed. Always inspect the swings to be sure they are adequately supported by the framework of the playground structure -- if not, skip them. Look for sharp or broken edges on the swing as well as the chains. If any part of the swing is cracked or damaged, look for a different swing or head to a different playground. Skip swings that are made with half-bucket seats if you have a baby or a toddler. She can easily slip out of the swing, which can lead to serious injuries.
Remember that no safety checklist can replace adult supervision. Many accidents can be prevented if you keep a close eye on your child while he plays on the swings. Don't let your child stand up on the swing or ride on the swing with a friend. Ask your child to keep both hands on the chains while the swing is in motion, and make sure he waits until he's stopped before getting off the swing. Also remind your child to walk around the swings so he doesn't get knocked down by someone else who's swinging.