Choosing what kind of swingset to purchase for your kids can be a tough process. Different types and sizes of swing sets come at different costs, and different materials require different levels of maintenance. Beyond that, there are customization options to consider. Should you go with a traditional swing, a tire swing, or even an omnidirectional fabric swing? There’s one more decision that a lot of parents don’t consider: Where to install their swing set. Depending on your specific needs, you may get a lot more out of your play equipment if you actively consider the pros and cons of where you’ll place it.
Think about the weather
Much of the enjoyment of playing on a swing set outside is getting to spend time outdoors. Spending time breathing fresh air in the warm sun with green plants and the lazy buzzing of bees around gives kids and parents alike a beautiful environment to unwind. Unfortunately there’s also a downside.
In many parts of the country, the weather will discourage use of your swing set for large portions of the year. Obviously swing sets aren’t very enjoyable to play on during the winter, but oppressive summer heat and spring rain can just as easily force your kids to stay indoors. Worse, poor air quality due to smog or, in some states, as a result of wildfires could even cause respiratory issues over time.
An indoor swing set makes it easy to engage in active play even if you’re exposed to these unfortunate factors in your local area.
Play equipment is infamously germ-infested. Homeadvisor’s study on the issue found that a typical baby swing at an outdoor playground is populated by a quantity of bacteria an order of magnitude higher (6 million colony forming units (CFU) per square inch) than the number found on toilet seats and toothbrush holders in a regular home. These included all kinds of bacteria, including helpful as well as various varieties of harmful bacteria.
Indoor swing sets, on the other hand, were found to be far less germ-ridden. However, this doesn’t mean they could be called clean. Instead of 6 million, CFU per square inch on indoor play equipment is numbered in the tens of thousands. Unlike outdoor equipment, however, nearly all of the bacteria found on indoor play sets were gram positive cocci, which are linked to various skin infections, pneumonia, endocarditis, and osteomyelitis. All swing sets need to be maintained and disinfected occasionally, but parents especially need to be aware of the specific pathogenic risks associated with where they place their play equipment.
What size is right for you?
Small children don’t need enormous swing sets. A small baby swing set could even be moved inside from the garden when appropriate. Kids who only want to swing, use a climbing rope, or practice on a climbing wall can easily be accommodated indoors. For larger children who want to run around and play on more varied equipment, though, indoor playsets might offer unwelcome limitations. Most people’s homes aren’t designed to accommodate a large active play area. Creating the perfect play environment for your little ones is a tricky task, and there’s no one right answer. By considering your kids’ specific needs, your local environment, and the options that are available to you, however, you’ll be able to make your kids' dreams come true.