As a parent, you want your children to experience the joys of playing outdoors, but you also want them to be safe. And having a jungle gym in your backyard is a much safer alternative to visiting the neighbourhood’s park, which can be a far walk away from your house.
Having a jungle gym is of the most fulfilling things you could do for your children. It is beneficial to their physical development and assists in muscle strength development and self-confidence. They also stimulate imagination, boost memory and improve concentration.
Whether you’ve bought one of the most popular DIY jungle gyms or one from your local hardware store, inspecting and maintaining your jungle gym is important for the safety of your children. You should have a maintenance routine once a year.
Read our tips on inspecting and maintaining your jungle gym:
If you have a wooden jungle gym, you should first inspect it for any splinters and structural defects. When children play, they are often too busy to notice any splinters, and this is a danger hazard. Wood can be easily affected by the weather when untreated; for example, it can swell up when it has been raining and can also chip off. When maintaining your jungle gym unit, treat the timber with a wood preservative to protect it, and seal it from rotting.
Check ground surface
The ground surface area should be level and unpaved, containing either sand or a layer of grass. Do not install a jungle gym on an area that has concrete, gravel or any other hard surface. This will protect your child when falling and hurting themselves.
The hardware components are the most important features on a jungle gym. They include bolts and screws and are what keeps the structure together. With your children playing regularly, it is most likely that there will be some loose bolts that need to be monitored.
That is why you should regularly examine the bolts and tighten where you have to. Do not over tighten the screws because it will result in split boards. When inspecting the hardware components, look out for any rust. Rust can affect the strength of the jungle gym unit, so, replace it if necessary. Also, check if the ground anchors are still secure to the ground.
When inspecting the accessories, test the swing sets, swing hooks, and rope locks. Another tip in checking the swing set is to put your full body weight on the swing for a minute or two. By doing this, you are checking if the swing ropes are still in good condition or not.
When examining the ropes, look for any fibre fabrication. You will need to open the rope and check inside for any fraying, to see if there are any broken fibres.
All jungle gym accessories can be cleaned with regular detergent and warm water. Kids tend to stand on swings, creating stains that are hard to get rid off, especially when it is muddy. If you should experience this, using a high-pressure cleaner can help get rid of the stains.
Jungle gyms have different components, and every component comes with different sets of safety considerations. Kids are not as careful as adults, and that is why we need to keep a close eye and make sure they don’t harm themselves.
- When kids are having fun on the jungle gym, there should be at least one parent to observe and teach them how to play safely. They also should have appropriate clothing, for example, a simple tracksuit. They should not wear anything that has a drawstring or fits loosely, as this might get stuck in between the bars and equipment.
- Swings are the most played on equipment on a jungle gym. Make sure that your kids are always sitting upright with their weight in the middle of the swing set. They also should also have both arms on the chains.
- When climbing the slides, make sure that the children use both hands tightly holding the side railings. Also ensure that they slide feet down while sitting upright, never stomach down and head first.
Investing in a jungle gym will help with the development progress of your children as they will learn how to explore, imagine and become stronger at the same time. Admittedly, owning one means that you have to commit to maintaining it. Surely, you wouldn’t want your kids to have an accident and hurt themselves. So, be sure to replace old and rusty parts. Metal sometimes has to be lubricated to prevent rusting. If you notice that the unit might need to be lubricated, you can use regular vegetable or olive oil in your kitchen.