Are climbing toys safe for children? Parents admit 200,000 children into emergency rooms with injuries from climbing toys and playground equipment, according to Kids Health. This confirms what many parents fear: indoor and outdoor climbing toys, including slides, swing sets, play sets, and climbing walls, may endanger your child. Lookout for these telltale signs to help prevent injury:
Sign #1: Public or Private Playground Equipment Placed on Hard Surfaces
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that it is markedly unsafe to use indoor or outdoor climbing toys on hard surfaces. Never place outdoor play sets on asphalt or concrete; do not trust public playgrounds with similarly unforgiving surfaces. Outdoor swing sets and playground equipment should provide proper fall protection. Surround equipment with wood mulch, wood chips, and recycled rubber to keep kids safe.
Moreover, parents and daycare providers need to reconsider indoor climbing toys. Carpeted wood or hardwood floors do not provide adequate protection from injuries and falls, the CPSC adds.
Sign #2: Untreated Metal and/or Dark Plastic
Young children can easily burn themselves on dark plastic, rubber, or untreated metal — even in mild weather! The CPSC warns parents that one child suffered second-degree burns from playground equipment on an afternoon with temperatures reaching only 74 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are putting together child’s climbing toys near your home, choose light-colored, plastic materials. White or clear plastic screws, plastic screw cover caps, and nylon nuts work best.
Sign #3: Rusted or Broken Parts
Regularly inspect backyard play sets for any signs of weatherization, corrosion, and chemical wear. All of these things weaken structures, putting the safety of your child in question. Fasten consumer climbing toys with screw covers and nut covers. Nut covers fit over external threads, strengthening nuts’ hold and preventing damage from rain, ice, and snow.
Don’t risk your child’s safety. Carefully inspect public and consumer climbing structures for hazards, such as placement on hard surfaces, exposed metal, dark plastics, and rusted parts.