Your Guide to Swing Sets

The swing set is one of the fondest objects of childhood memories – a staple among playgrounds everywhere, bringing children some of their first feelings of exhilaration. Swings are great for kids of all ages, but there is a lot of thought that goes into buying a swing set. 

When looking at swing sets, there are many aspects to consider before purchasing, from configuration and types of seats, to the material used to make the swing set. If you are looking to buy a swing set, but are not sure what to look for, then here are a few suggestions that may help.

Configuration and Seats

One of the first things to consider when purchasing a swing set is the type of swing configuration. There are two basic swing configurations: the single-axis swing, and the multi-axis swing.

Single-axis
The single axis swing is the most common playground fixture. Usually referred to as the to-fro swing, it is the most customizable, with various forms of seats that suit a range of age groups. These include the full bucket swing, the half-bucket swing, the belt seat, and the flat swing seat.

Full bucket swings provide support to the child on all sides to ensure the child is safe and secure. They are great for young children under the age of 4 years old.

The half-bucket swing seat provides a back support while leaving the front open and giving the child some freedom to kick their legs. These seats have been designed for older toddlers and children who have developed motor skills, and are great for teaching children how swing on their own.

The belt swing is the most commonly used seat in playgrounds, and are good for children of all ages who have mastered the ability to swing alone. Most are made of synthetic rubber and fold up to form-fit the child and ensure a safe and secure seat without the need of front or back support.

Flat swings can be dangerous for children who are not careful. Because they do not fold up like the belt swing, there is a risk of the child slipping off the seat while swinging. Increased supervision is advised when a flat seat is in use.

Multi-axis
An example of a multi-axis swing is the tire swing. This can be made at home from an old car tire, or may be purchased in stores. It is usually hung from chains that connect to a single swing hanger and allows it to both swing and rotate simultaneously. These are great for multiple children, but younger children should be supervised due to lack of peripheral support. They also require a wide swing space.

Materials

Another consideration when seeking a swing set is the material out of which it is constructed. Some materials are less expensive while others tend to be sturdier. It is important to look into the various types before purchasing a set.

Plastic
Swing sets made from plastic or vinyl tend to be smaller and less expensive, and are great for toddlers and younger children. There is also less of a chance of a child getting injured on the swing. However, because plastic sets tend to be lighter, it is not advisable for use by kids over 10 years old.

Metal
Metal swing sets can support more weight, and are great for any age group. Metal is much more durable than plastic, and is easy to transport and assemble. They can bear a good amount of weight as long as they are anchored in the ground properly. Metal sets are prone to rust, and may start to bend, but last a long time if sustained. Some sets come with plastic coverings to protect them from the elements.

Wood
Wooden sets are among the most popular today. They are great if maintained regularly, and will not rust like metal. Treated wood is commonly used in swing sets today to prevent rotting, and will last a while. However, good-quality wood swing sets are usually more expensive than metal or plastic, and cheaper sets may be constructed of less-durable lumber and begin rot more quickly. When inspecting a swing set made of wood, check to see what kind of material is being used. Typically, sets made from redwood lumber are the prime choice.

These are just a few important aspects to explore when purchasing a swing set. It is always a good idea to do as much research as possible before settling on a selection. Many of these considerations depend upon the environment in which the swings will be placed. Yet, whether it be a school playground, the park, or a spot in the backyard, the important thing is that the swing set provides a fun area where kids can enjoy themselves, and where parents and teachers can rest assured that the children will be safe.

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