Posted on: 13 August 2015
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 200,000 children visit the emergency room due to playground related accidents each year. This is why you've decided to create your own backyard play area and have taken all the necessary steps to ensure it's safe. However, even the most vigilant parent can overlook the common hazards found in many children's backyard playgrounds. Here are two of those hazards – and what you can do to make your backyard as safe as possible for your kids:
The Dangers of Older Playground Equipment
From almost falling head first off the merry-go-round to practically losing your foot on the teeter totter, when you were a kid there were several dangers found on the playground. As a parent, you know that many types of vintage playground equipment are clearly dangerous – but what about equipment that is slightly-loved but still in good shape?
Before you allow you kids to play on older equipment, there are two potential hidden dangers to watch out for: lead paint and arsenic.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, if your backyard playground equipment was manufactured before 1978, there could be lead paint present. If the paint job is in good shape, the CPSC recommends keeping an eye out for any chips or other damage. However, if the paint is worn, and the metal swing set or other equipment was manufactured before 1978, consider replacing it, instead.
Another potential hazard, chromated copper arsenate (CCA) was commonly used to preserve pressure treated wood up until the early 2000s, when it was officially banned. Unfortunately, if you have older playground equipment that features pressure treated wood, there is a strong likelihood your child could be exposed to arsenic.
If you're concerned your older pressure treated equipment features CCA, the best way to keep your child safe is to replace the playset. The next best way to protect your child is to apply a sealant to all the pressure treated wood at least once per year. Encouraging your child to wash their hands after playing on the swing set is another way to keep them safe.
A Soft Place to Land
Your rambunctious kids are always roughhousing on the backyard swing set, which, although fun, can lead to quite a few scrapes and bruises. Even though it may seem like an ideal surface, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, grass can become too compact and worn overtime to provide your child with a soft, safe place to land.
To truly ensure your child is safe, it's important to cover the ground beneath your playground equipment with a more durable material, including the following:
Spread these materials so they are at least two to three inches deep and stretch at least six beyond the edges of the playground equipment. This will help ensure that if your child takes a dive off the swing or falls off the top of their favorite slide, they will be well protected.
The prices of these materials vary, and it's best to consider which is right for your backyard landscape and budget. However, no matter what you choose, each of these is a much safer alternative to your bare lawn.
Your child's backyard swing set or playground equipment can provide them with hours of fun. However, even though the majority of equipment was manufactured with your child's safety in mind, there are still several hidden dangers. Luckily, with a few minor changes, and a couple bags of wood mulch, you can help ensure your child's backyard playground is a safe place for them to play and explore.Share