How to Choose the Safest Outdoor Playset for Your Kids

By: Celeste Simmons

As a parent, it is a priority to keep our kids safe. When you pick out an outdoor play set, you will need to know what the safety standards are before you buy. This article outlines what the safety features are and what to look for, so you can shop intelligently and be informed.

You should be able to pick the play set style that suits their needs, fits in your backyard with extra room around the sides, and that one that is most age-appropriate for your children to grow with and have fun on.

Be cautious of the mega-store playsets. They may have cheaply made materials that won't last. Their motive is price, only! Remember that you will be looking at your childís playset for many years, so you want to be sure it is good fit for your family. You want no regrets after you buy it.

Check for these safety features before buying a new playset for your children:

1. Look for recessed bolts that wonít stick out, tear clothing or hurt fingers. Make sure that the build plan does not call for or use any kind of nails. Nails can back out of wood over time, because of weather climate and wood conditions. Nails that stick out will cause injuries and punctures. Make sure that bolts are used and have recessed holes for placement in the set.

2. You will want to check for covered swing set chains that are sturdy, but lighter in weight than industrial metal materials. Painted or colored chains are not the same. It needs a plastic coating over where their small hands will be gripping the chain. I chose the swing set with a plastisol coasting, which I thought was a great purchase. It covers the chain, but allows it to breathe without trapping water. It also gives the chain a softer coating that wonít smell like rusted metal, over time.

3. Be sure to get a quality wood that will last, and withstand the weather for years to come. Make sure it is pressure treated, solid pieces. You may want to compare wood types for the best results, based on your area climate. There are many wood choices to look at. Do your research here, and it will pay off.

4. Ask for sturdy plastic slides that retain color through the years and keep cool in the sunlight. Some slides are too thin, and they buckle when an older or heavier child uses it. Make sure the slide is thick! And donít ever get a metal slide, they are too hot in the sun.

5. Another thing to look for on the wood, is to check for pre-sanded and smoothed- out surfaces and corners of the wood, to prevent injuries. Be sure you do an inspection before you let your children play on it, and look for large splinters sticking out of the frame.

6. Ask about the product warranty or manufacturerís warranty, and compare brands. Inspecting the details of the warranty is important, since you will have this at your home for many years. You will need to know what is a lifetime warranty and what is a limited warranty.

7. Check to see if the sets are made in the U.S. Other countries safety standards are not the same as ours, and this may create safety issues. If they had a product recall, how would you find out? How will you get a replacement? Ask before you buy.
8. Read the customer approval ratings and feedback on other websites. Donít just check their website and believe what it says. Be sure to be thorough in your search for brand satisfaction and wood sustainability. Look for customer comments outside the productís website.

9. If you plan on building the play set yourself, look for a plan that you can manage. Make sure and read how difficult it is to build it, before you buy it. Joints with tongue and groove options are great, since its less hardware, and it implies a solid build surface. See if the company representatives will be there to answer questions if you need them.

10. Check the company history, or longevity. Were they around five years ago? Have they had any complaints? You will need support from customer service if you have questions, so make sure they will be there to answer the phone if you do have to call. Be sure to check opinions sites for customer reviews.

11. On the play-set design: Make sure that the steps (or ladder-steps) are flat, and not rounded poles. The old-style rounded step posts allow for kids to slip off if they are wet. Look for flat edges. This is a newer design modification, but an important one.

The playsets I really liked were at
Another site that sells kids outdoor play accessories and swing sets is

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