If you are considering buying a swing set or any type of large playset that has slides or swings attached you need to make sure that you think about setting up your swing set safety zone.
You may have not heard of the term “swing set safety zone” (it’s also sometimes referred to as a swing set fall zone) but really all this basically means is the immediate area around the swing set that provides enough room for your child to safely play with all the different aspects of the set.
The safety zone of a swing set needs to be taken into consideration before you even buy the set because you need to make sure that you are going to have enough room in your backyard to not only fit the swing set but also have the proper size safety zone around it.
How Big Should Your Swing Set Safety Zone Be?
It is recommended by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission to have at least 6 feet in all directions used as a safety zone around a swing set or playset. This is absolutely the minimum amount of of soft landing space you should have around your swing set.
When it comes to the actual area where swings are located the safety zone is a little different. In front and back of any swings you should have a safety zone that measures twice the height of the swing to allow for ample area in case your child should fall off the swing. So, for example, if your swings are 8 feet tall, you would need 16 feet in the front of the swing and 16 feet in the back of the swing for the safety zone area.
When you look at the dimensions of the swing set you are interested in you need to take into consideration this safety zone to help ensure the safety of your children when playing. This does play a big part in how big of a swing set you can buy depending on the size of your yard.
Some companies will include their own safety zone layout designs for you before you buy the structure just to give you an exact measurement of what you will need for that particular set. Just make sure that it follows the proper guidelines outlined above.
Keep in mind also, you would never want your swing set to be too close to other structures in your yard such as a fence, shed or your house. You need to leave the safety zone completely void of other structures and items including other backyard toys or clubhouses.
Having the larger swing set safety zone is especially essential with swings sets for older kids because the sets tend to be higher and larger and your child is bigger and needs more room to be able to play properly.
What Protective Surface Should You Use for Your Swing Set Safety Zone?
Once you have your safety zone mapped out and you know how large it needs to be, you need to them decide what type of protective surfacing you are going to use in this area.
When choosing the type of protective surface you want you can compare each of the surface’s fall heights. A fall height is at what height the material will still help to cushion a child’s fall.
The fall height is rated by the actual material used as well as the depth of the material.
The area around your swing set should never include concrete or asphalt surfaces as these hard surfaces can lead to serious injuries especially serious head injuries. Always choose one of the loose-fill surfaces above for your swing set safety zone.
There are some specialty rubber materials and mats that have come out recently that are designed for playground safety, but to get those fall height numbers you would have to request them from the individual manufacturers and then do your comparisons.
Where To Set Up Your Swing Set In Your Yard?
When you are planning for your new swing set or wooden play set you do need to keep the above dimensions in mind to account for the safety zone but you should also consider a few other things as well.
The land that you are going to place your swing set on should be relatively flat. This helps to make your structure more stable and secure for your kids. You should not have to dig more than 3″ in the ground to correct any stability issues with the swing set.
Just be sure to choose an area of your yard that has enough room for a proper safety zone that is free from other items. It may mean getting smaller swing set but it could also mean keeping your children safer.