To keep kids safe, remember the following tips when it comes to creating and maintaining play space in your yard.
1. Soften the fall
If you have a play set in your yard, consider upgrading the ground around and below it, as kids will inevitably be landing on it from a tall height or at high speeds. About 60 percent of all playground injuries are caused by falls to the ground, and a more shock-absorbent surface can reduce the risk of serious injury. Consider sand, wood chips, pea gravel or shredded rubber.
2. Keep a safety zone
If you install equipment like swings or a trampoline, be sure to place them a safe distance from fences, trees or your house in case kids accidentally (or not!) launch themselves in that direction.
3. Go with a pro
While it's great to have friends or family members offer to help assemble and secure your backyard play equipment, it can pay to invest in professional installation. This will help ensure the fort doesn't collapse during your kid's birthday party or the jungle gym doesn't go sailing the next time the wind kicks up.
4. Inspect your equipment regularly
Standing up against the weather – and kids – can take its toll, even on the highest quality play equipment. Check the hardware and wood to make sure bolts and screws remain secure and rot (or splinter-causing flaking) doesn't begin.
5. Beware of lawn treatments
Know what's in any lawn treatment to make sure it's safe for kids and pets to roll around in.