Children love playing outside and exploring the world around them. As a parent, you not only want them to have fun and to learn, but you most importantly want them to be safe. Many parents make the decision to purchase a backyard kids playground for their children to enjoy the outdoors in the safety of their own backyard. This is a wise decision, but many factors must be considered if the play area is to be safe for your children and their friends.
The first and probably most important factor is whether the surface material is safe and adequate. A highly recommended material is rubber mulch. Wood chips, sand and pea gravel are also popular, but rubber is more spongy and great at breaking a fall. Concrete and asphalt are not safe because they are not soft materials. Grass and soil might be soft enough, but they erode over time and lose their protective benefits. Whatever material you choose, it should go six feet beyond the kids playground equipment and be at least 12 inches deep. Having an adequate surfacing material will prevent injury and keep your backyard a fun and safe place for your kids to play.
The next point of playground safety to consider is if the equipment itself is structurally sound. Anything that appears to be protruding, sharp or pointy should be sanded or otherwise removed. Open "s" hooks can cause harm by catching on clothing. Protrusions are not the only things that should be watched for. Hinges or links in a chain that can pinch little fingers should be done away with. In addition, any kids playground set that looks like it could have a tripping hazard should be avoided. Guardrails in the right places can prevent falls and keep your children safe from injury. The recommendation is that any structure that is more than three feet off the ground should have a guardrail.
Children have little limbs that can slip from beneath them. For this reason, ladder rungs and guardrail posts should be either less than 3.5 inches apart or wider than 9 inches so arms or legs do not get stuck between them. These and more safety concerns should be addressed before you make a purchase of a kids playground set. Wooden sets are very structurally sound and well constructed. As always do your own due diligence to find an experienced playground builder.