Swing sets are a quintessential playground fixture. Children love swinging back and forth while pumping their legs. The smaller ones throw themselves over a belt seat with their feet barely touching the ground, squealing in delight. It’s a scene that communities everywhere would like to have on their next playground.
Purchasing the right swing set for your next playground project can be made easier with these tips:
- Determine if the Site is Commercial or Residential
- Establish the Age Ranges that Will be Using the Equipment
- Measure the Horizontal and Vertical Space
- Estimate How Many People Will Use the Playground at a Time
- Choose Types of Swing Seats Based on Ages and Needs
1. Determine if the Site is Commercial or Residential
It might seem like all swings are created equal, but the codes for commercial and residential playgrounds are very different. Residential playgrounds are those that are in a backyard and are designed to handle only a few children playing on them at a time. In contrast, commercial playgrounds are made to withstand large numbers of kids running around on them. Certain styles of swings, materials, and designs are reserved for residential use only. These tips are intended for commercial sites.
2. Establish the Age Ranges that Will be Using the Equipment
This is perhaps the single most important tip. The age ranges of children that will be using the playground will guide which swings and sets you will use. The younger the children, the more likely you will use lower top rail heights. There are three main groups of ages that playgrounds are designed for:
- 2 – 5 years of age
- 5 – 12 years of age
- 2 – 12 years of age
3. Measure the Horizontal and Vertical Space
Swings require a large amount of space. The space around where a swing is used is called a use zone. People often think of the horizontal area but forget about the vertical area. It is easiest to think of playground equipment as being placed within a bubble. The use zone extends to all edges of the bubble.
Some common hazards above the swing set to be aware of are:
- Tree branches – If they are nearby, they will need to be trimmed and maintained. Per CPSC standards, these must not be less than 84” away from the top of any play surface.
- Power lines – These should be nowhere near proposed playground site.
- Buildings – Sometimes a roof or beam extends into the area.
- Shades – Shades structures also subject to use zone guidelines.
4. Estimate How Many People Will Use the Playground at a Time
Knowing the number of people that will be using the playground at both low and peak times will help determine the number of swings needed. Here are some quick facts to help you evaluate your number:
- Most swing seats only accommodate one rider at a time.
- A bay holds two swings of the same type.
- Tire and saucer swings allow for multiple riders, but they require their own swing set.
- ADA swings are most often too big to fit more than one per swing bay.
- Wheelchair swings only seat one rider and require their own swingset.
- Children will want to do more than swing, so remember that some of those children will be busy playing on climbers, sliding or spinning on other areas of the playground.
This number can change over time. Swing sets are one of the least expensive initial cost pieces of playground equipment on the market today making them easier to add to a site at a later date.
5. Choose Types of Swing Seats Based on Ages and Needs
Selecting your swing seats based on the ages of the children who will be using them can sound simple and daunting at the same time. There are single rider, multiple rider, round, belt and even, bucket swings. Taking time to look at the different types of swings and what your playground needs are can ensure that you end up with the right types of swings for your community.
Getting the Right Swing Set
By using these five simple tips, you’re well on your way to finding the perfect commercial swing set to fit your playground. Questions about swings? Call Playground Outfitters at (888) 342-8228 to chat with a commercial playground expert.