Every kid dreams of having a backyard play structure with swings, a slide (or two) and plenty of space to romp, jump and get wild – and today’s models are a far cry from the metal swing sets we grew up with. With modern innovations, though, come new safety concerns that you need to know about before purchasing one for your children or grandchildren.

The Perfect Play Structure - Carbine and Associates

Finding the Perfect Play Structure: What to Look For

Many people don’t realize that wood used in play structures is often treated with arsenic-containing compounds, which can pose a health risk to children. It’s imperative that you find a play structure that hasn’t been treated with chromated copper arsenate, or CCA.

A high-quality play structure will also have built-in safety features, such as corner covers and caps over screws and nails. Slats in guard rails and ladder rungs should be less than 3.5 inches apart or wider than 9 inches apart to prevent trapping hazards.

Setting Up for Safety

You don’t need a lot of room to safely set up a play structure; all you need to do is make sure that your child’s structure sits on top of – and is surrounded by – a safe surface. Ideally, the surface will consist of 12 inches of:

·       Mulch

·       Wood chips

·       Pea gravel

·       Sand

·       Shredded rubber or synthetic rubber

Finally, choose a place that’s free from tree stumps, large rocks and other tripping hazards when you’re determining where to put your child’s playground set. 

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