As spring rolls around, the kids are anxious to get outside and play. Two of their favorite attractions are swing sets and sand boxes. As our girls grew up, we had a variety of store-bought metal swing sets and Dad’s special homemade wood sets. The latter was so heavy duty that it was almost a fortress.
These swing sets can be almost as dangerous as they can be fun. Each year, parents should check all of the bolts holding the set together to make sure they are tight and the chains secure. Nothing is like getting the swing to go as high as it can only to have an eye bolt come loose or a chain break. The kids may think it is exciting to fly through the air… at least until they hit the ground. This might be a good place to mention that a good sand or pebble base around the swing set can reduce possible injuries when the kids do fall off the swings.
Another important thing is to check the anchors holding the legs in place. You do have anchors on the swing set legs, don’t you?? I remember when I built the girls this gigantic wood swing set out of 4”x 4” posts. It weighed as much as a tank, so I didn’t think it would need anchors. WRONG!!! Somehow, my petite little girls could get that thing a-rockin’ and almost tipped it over once. Maybe that was me that almost tipped it over. Anyway, leg anchors are very important and may prevent a trip to the emergency room.
If your swing set is metal, be sure to check all of the joints to be sure they have not rusted through during the winter months. Even if it is almost new, check it over, particularly that two-person rocker swing on the end of the set.
Most new sets have plastic seats so check the seats for cracks. Little bottoms can get pinched very easily.
Here is to a spring and summer full of fun—and free of arm and leg casts.
Steven Burnett is a certified Professional Home Inspector with Journey Property Inspections, LLC, covering all of Southeastern Michigan. He also does radon testing, water quality testing, and lead paint testing. Steven has raised six daughters, helped care for 8 foster babies, and now has 3 grandchildren.