5 Tips to Keep Your Backyard Playset Safe for Toddlers
Toddlers are at a stage where they love exploring the outdoors. Whether you take them to the park or simply let them play in your own yard, you are helping them learn more about the environment and get some exercise, and both will have a positive impact on their physical and mental growth and health.
You can even ensure that your toddlers get more exercise and love spending lots of time outdoors by having one of the best backyard playsets right on your property. With the right children’s play equipment, you won’t have any problems getting your little ones to go outside. Additionally, you won’t have to think of ways to entertain them since the playset will keep them happily occupied for hours.
It is important, however, to make sure that your backyard playset is safe for your toddlers. Kids between 12 to 36 months old are still developing their fine and gross motor skills as well as their balance and, as such, can get hurt even when they are just playing.
Here are some tips to help your kids stay safe while playing in your backyard playset:
1.Buy good quality play equipment
If you will be buying your first backyard playset or a replacement, make sure you purchase one from a well-known and trusted brand.
By doing so, you will be certain that the play equipment you have in your backyard is made of high-quality, durable materials and that it is well-designed and constructed. You will also be sure that the playset has sturdy, non-corrosive hardware and other parts and features that won’t be potential hazards to your toddlers.
2.Purchase age-appropriate playset accessories
When buying play equipment accessories, such as a rope ladder, trapeze, or an additional swing, choose ones that complement your children’s ages.
Keep in mind that playset accessories are not one-size-fits-all items. This means you have to change certain accessories as your kids grow. Toddlers and kids under age five, for instance, should not play on anything above 1.5 metres (or 5 feet) high.
In case your child can’t climb up a wall or swing on his own, it means that he is too small for that particular piece and you will need to change it.
3.Make sure the playset has a safe and soft surface
Sand and rubber flooring are the most recommended types of play equipment surfaces.
Sand is soft, affordable, and can absorb shock.It is visually appealing as well. But if you choose sand as your playset surface, make sure to check for any hazardous objects that might be embedded in it regularly.
It can also shift over time, so you have to check the depth frequently and replenish the areas that have become too shallow.
Rubber pavers are also great options since they offer high wear and are easy to maintain. They come in different levels of thickness and can last for several years.
4.Check bolts and bolt caps regularly
Playsets can be made of wood, metal, plastic or any combination of the three. These materials typically expand and contract at different rates during seasonal temperature changes. And because of this, the equipment’s bolts can become loose over time. Frequent swinging and climbing can loosen bolts as well.
It is therefore important that you inspect and tighten all the connections before your toddlers use the play equipment every two weeks during the playing season.
Additionally, make sure each bolt is still covered by a plastic cap. These caps can deteriorate and slip off over time. When several bolts are exposed, they can scratch kids, and if they get entangled in clothing, these can then become strangulation hazards.
If a bolt has lost a cap, make sure you buy a replacement immediately at a local hardware store.
5.Supervise your toddlers whenever they are at play
You will help your toddlers avoid bumps and bruises whenever they are on the play equipment by actively supervising them.Stay close to them, especially when they are trying something new, to give them the confidence they need to develop their motor skills.
It is also never too early to teach your kids about play equipment safety.This means teaching them to:
- Use the equipment properly (sliding down with the feet first, no standing on the swings, etc.)
- Never push or play too roughly
- Avoid wearing clothes that have drawstrings or cords and even necklaces when they play since these could get caught on equipment and possibly choke them
- Never use wet play equipment since the moisture will make the surfaces slippery
Whether you have a simple swing set with slide at home or a complete playset, make sure it is always safe for your toddlers to use it. Buy age-appropriate, good quality play equipment, install it properly, and inspect it regularly to keep your children protected while they are at play.
Michael Davies is the Senior Account Manager at Sandleford, a trusted supplier of letterboxes and home security products and solutions in Australia. The company’s Swing Slide Climb range has grown and grown over the past 4 years, and together with Bunnings Australia, it has become one of the most exciting and innovative suppliers and developers of children’s play equipment in the Australian market