School is out for the summer, and your kids are probably spending a lot more time at home. And unless you intend to raise professional video gamers, you probably encourage them to spend some time outdoors each day. However, that means you have to take extra measures to keep them safe. If you’ve installed a backyard swing set, it’s important to pay attention not only to safety instructions for the swing set itself, but also, to the surrounding landscaping.

Protect against falls. Your number one priority should be to cover the ground below the swing set with a shock-absorbing material. If a child falls from the play equipment, he or she will be less likely to sustain a serious injury if the ground below is covered with sand, mulch, or rubberized play mats. Sand, can serve as a great option for after the kids have grown out of the swing set. The addition of a fire pit and lounge chairs makes for a great adult sandbox.

Whatever material you choose to use below your swing set, remember to fill it for appropriate shock absorption. Also, extend it six feet beyond the perimeter of the structure, to ensure that falling children do indeed land on the chosen material rather than your hard concrete.

Protect against excessive sun exposure. Long periods of exposure to direct sunlight can result in dangerous sunburns. Additionally, when children are hot, they are much less likely to want to play outside. As you landscape around your swing set, consider planting some trees or shrubs which grow quickly and provide adequate shade to the area. A few well placed shade trees can make the difference between a great play area and a large piece of yard art complete with a slide! Visit our nursery and we can help you select the right shade-providing plants for your play area.

Ward off bees. Bees and other stinging insects can be dangerous to children, especially when they establish nests in your backyard. When you choose plants for your backyard, avoid flowering plants (which bees love) right next to the swing set or choose varieties that bloom only at night. Keep in mind that red flowers do not attract bees, so those are generally considered safe if you want flowers in your backyard. Some flowering plants, such as marigolds and chrysanthemums, do not attract bees and actually repel other insects. And of course, check the area around your swing set regularly for evidence of bee or wasp nests.

And finally, make sure to install your swing set within your line of sight. You should be able to glance out of a window (for most people the kitchen window is ideal) or door, quickly locate your children, and make sure that they are safe. For more information on swing set safety, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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