If you are considering buying a swing set or any type of large playset with slides or swings attached, make sure to think about your swing set safety zone or "fall zone." This is the immediate area around the swing set that provides enough room for your child to play and fall as safely as possible. When sizing up your backyard, you should take into account the safety zone as well as the dimensions of the swing set.
How Big Should Your Safety Zone Be?
It is recommended by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to have at least 6 feet in all directions, aside from the swing area. This is the absolute minimum amount of soft landing space you should have around your swing set.
When it comes to the area where swings are located, the safety zone is a bit different. In front and back of any swings, you should have a safety zone that measures twice the height of the swing to allow for ample area in case your child should fall off the swing. So, for example, if your swings are 8 feet tall, you would need 16 feet in the front of the swing and 16 feet in the back of the swing for the safety zone.
It is also best to keep your swing set away from a fence, shed or your house. The safety zone should also be void of any other structures and items, including other backyard toys or clubhouses.
What Protective Surface Should You Use for Your Safety Zone?
When choosing a protective surface, you should consider fall heights. A fall height is the height at which the material will cushion a child's fall.
The fall height is calculated by taking into consideration the material used + the depth of material laid.
The area around your swing set should never include concrete or asphalt surfaces. Hard surfaces can lead to serious injuries. Always choose a loose-fill material to lay on your ground.
Where Should You Set Up Your Swing Set In Your Yard?
Aside from the above guidelines, the land should be made flat. This ensures the swing set will be stable and secure. You should not have to dig more than 3″ in the ground to correct any stability issues with the swing set.
- Be sure to choose an area of your yard that has enough room for a proper safety zone
- Be sure the surrounding area is free from other items, whether small backyard play items or your fence, home, etc.
- Be sure the ground is made flat prior to building
- Consider laying down a protective surface