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Attention, Parents! Look Before You Buy a Children's Outdoor Playset
You have finally decided that you want a children's outdoor playset for your active kids. You realized that a backyard or front yard playset is necessary to protect your children from malicious strangers lurking in the public park and from neighborhood bullies, not to mention that your budget for gas is taking a beating. However, before you actually buy a playset, look for these desirable qualities and conditions necessary for proper installation.
Qualities of a Good Playset
In an oft-quoted statistic, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) tallied more than 200,000 playground equipment-related injuries annually, of which around 15 children die. It is imperative that you choose a children's outdoor playset that meets the following essential criteria:
* As much as possible, there should only be smooth or rounded edges especially on the most used parts like the swing seats, hand and guard rails, and the slide itself. If you find exposed screws and bolts, inquire if there are protective coverings available for these parts.
* The swing seats should be made of soft materials only, never of metals. You have to look for materials like soft rubber, durable plastic and lightweight canvas. However, you should not buy a children's outdoor playset with animal-shaped swing seats. These might look cute but have been connected to several deaths; instead opt for bucket seats.
* The slide should have a platform and a seat atop the slide to encourage children to sit down on their rears instead of using their feet to slide down. You have to look for the appropriate height - six feet for preschool children and eight feet for grade school kids are the limits.
* You should not scrimp on cost for a well-made, sturdy and durable outdoor playset. Often, the relatively expensive price is worth it in terms of durability and strength. Besides, you could expect a longer life-span from this playground equipment.
Ultimately, the safety of your children and their playmates always comes first. The cost of ensuring this safety is worth every penny than when you have to rush your children to the hospital emergency room for injuries sustained on a flimsily-built playset.
Conditions Necessary for Installation
Now that you have decided on a children's outdoor playset, you have to ensure that the necessary conditions for safety are present in your backyard.
* The surface under the children's outdoor playset should be composed of fall-friendly materials like wood chips, shredded wood mulch or rubber, pea gravel and sand. Your backyard grass and concrete paving is unsuitable for the purpose. Also, this area should at least be 12 inches deep and extend at least six feet from the perimeter of the playset. This is a necessary precaution that will cost you little.
* The playset should have a clearance of at least six feet from the fence and the house walls. You should find a shady spot or a spot facing the north. This way your children will be more protected from the sun's harmful rays, though you will still need to put on sunscreen before you allow them to play outside.
These two factors - good quality and good conditions - must come hand in hand in your final decision to purchase and install a children's outdoor playset in your own backyard or front yard.
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