It never fails. One minute, you’re enjoying a day with the family out in the yard, maybe cooking something on the grill or just relaxing in the shade. The kids are playing, the dog is barking, and things are going great. And then, suddenly, that peaceful afternoon is interrupted by the sound of a crying child.
Somebody got hurt, and it’s because of the canopy swing!
It’s no secret that kids love to play on swings. Of course, there are tons of swing sets and other great options for kids to have fun on in the backyard, but they’re always bound to find the patio swing sooner or later. When they do, they’ll be quick to push it to its limits.
Sometimes, that results in injuries, and that’s no good!
Short of buying a kids canopy swing specifically for the little ones in the family, there are some other ways you can learn to deal with kids and canopy swings. The Canopy Kingpin is here today to teach you a little bit about how to balance the two and be sure no one gets hurt again!
Check out this article to find out all about the potential problems you might encounter when you keep a canopy swing in the yard with kids. You can also find out how to pick a safer swing if you’re in the market for a new one, and how to improve your old swing to make it safer than ever before. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll be a pro when it comes to swing safety.
So let’s get started!
It’s important to remember what hazards to look for when considering the safety of your swing. Whether you’ve already got a swing and you’re looking for ways to improve its safety, or you’re shopping for a new one, you need to know what you’re looking for. Check out this list of potential hazards, and learn how to keep your eyes open for problem areas.
- Look for broken and cracked sections of the swing or frame. Does the seat have loose slats or other parts that could cause splinters? Is the chain rusted and brittle? Are there visible signs of wear on important parts of the frame? All of these could lead to injuries, so keep an eye out for them.
- Check the canopy frequently. Be sure it’s attached the right way and pay attention to any signs of wear and tear. If you notice something, repair it right away. Canopies can fall or tip over easily when they’re damaged.
- Keep an eye on the area around the swing, too. Look for any debris that might have been dropped around the swing, and check for pieces that may have fallen off. You never know what a child might find when they’re playing, especially on the ground.
- If you have very heavy cushions on your swing, you might want to take them off before letting the kids play in the area. Most of the time, cushions aren’t any cause for alarm, but some older swings have heavy cushions that could potentially suffocate a very small child. Kids could also remove the covers to the cushions if left unattended, and cause harm that way too.
Backyard safety tips are easy to come by, and many include ideas about making children’s swing sets safer. These suggestions can be modified to work well for canopy swings. For example, make sure your swing is always fastened securely to the ground if possible, and that all pieces (like the canopy itself) are attached to the frame.
Choosing a Safe Swing
So now that you know what to look for when it comes to hazards, how can you know which swings are safer and which ones to stay away from? There are a few tips you can follow to be sure you purchase a swing that’s safe for the whole family to use. If you’re in the market for a brand new canopy swing, you can make a family-friendly decision easily by keeping these tips in mind.
- Pick a swing that doesn’t have a very heavy seat. Children (and pets, too) are likely to walk in front of the swing while adults are using it, hoping to get your attention. They might also find it fun to push the swing themselves, but they might forget to move out of the way in time before it hits them. When you have a lightweight swing seat, this won’t do nearly as much damage if it does happen.
- Go for a swing that has a smaller canopy top. Although this means you won’t get as much in the way of shade, it will also keep your swing from being too top-heavy. The more balanced the swing, the less likely it is to tip over when kids play on it roughly or when the wind blows strong. In the same vein, pick a swing with a stationary canopy instead of an adjustable one.
- Choose a swing with a very durable, thick frame. Thinner frames may look nice, and unique styles might make your backyard stand out, but in the end, a traditional A-frame swing is the safest choice. These swings won’t fall over as easily, no matter how rough the kids might get.
- Select a swing that doesn’t have a lot of moving parts. The fewer parts the swing has, the less likely your child is to get his or her fingers caught in between something. Simple is better when it comes to picking a kid-friendly swing.
- Last but not least, don’t pick a swing that’s too big for your yard. Bigger swings have a greater potential for causing injury since they’re heavier and bulkier. If your swing is too big for the space where you’re using it, rough play could tip it over or knock it into nearby walls, fences, furniture, or even people.
Making Your Swing Safer
Those tips can be great if you’re looking for a new swing, but if you’ve already got a patio swing you may think you’re out of luck. Don’t throw out that old swing just yet! With a few simple alterations, you can easily turn your existing swing into something you won’t have to worry about anymore. The kids and adults in your family can all be equally safe when you make these simple changes.
- Be sure your swing is installed correctly. If your swing hasn’t been put together the right way, it’s automatically a lot less safe—for everyone in the family! Take this time to look at all the hardware and be sure it’s in the right place.
- Remove excess chain. If your swing is attached to its frame with a chain, be sure to use cutters to remove the extra part of the chain. This way, children will be less likely to pinch their fingers or potentially get a more serious injury. While you’re taking care of this, check for rust on the chain as well, and clean it as necessary.
- Put your swing on a soft surface. You don’t necessarily have to cover the ground with wood chips or other types of playground terrain, but moving your swing from the concrete to the grass can make a huge difference. This way, if one of the kids does fall, you’ll reduce the risk of scraped knees and bad bruises.
- Although many safety tips you can find online are about playground equipment, the same holds true for many canopy swings. For example, be sure to cover any exposed bolts or screws, and try to upgrade to softer, kid-friendly materials whenever possible.
- Consider weighing down your swing. You can do this by attaching sandbags to the base of the swing, or by using bungee cords to tie the frame down to something sturdy and stationary. If you use cords be sure you put them either right along the ground or much taller than your child can reach. Otherwise, you’ll have another potential for injury to worry about.
- Replace any damaged pieces of the swing, canopy, or cushions. Sure, a ripped cushion probably isn’t going to do a lot of harm, but you never know when it might lead to something more serious. If the canopy is damaged, it could fall on your child, and if the frame has any issues, the whole swing could tip over. Practice regular canopy swing maintenance to keep this from happening.
Tips for Taking Care of Kids Around Swings
Finally, one of the best ways to keep your kids safe around your patio swing is to keep an eye on them. Of course, it’s not possible to watch them all the time, but there are a few things you can do to help keep your kids that much safer around your swing. Put these ideas into practice, and you’ll feel a lot better about the safety of your children.
- Stay out in the yard when your kids are outside playing. This is a good practice for a lot of different reasons, but this way, you can keep a closer eye on things. If you must go inside for something, have the kids go inside with you, or ask another family member to take your place for a few minutes.
- Have a talk with your kids about safety around the swing. Explain that you’re not trying to restrict them or keep them from having fun, but that you want them to be safe. Let them know that they could get hurt, but don’t go into graphic detail just to scare them. Most kids respond well to being spoken to frankly, and your honesty can go a long way toward keeping them safer.
- Demonstrate using toys and other inanimate household objects for kids who might not understand why they should be careful around the swing. For example, you might want to stand a tall toy in front of the swing and show them how easy it is for someone to get knocked over if it’s pushed too hard. Again, there’s no need to be too scary with this!
- If you notice the kids gravitating toward playing on the swing, it might be time to bring in some new kid-friendly play sets or outdoor furniture. Choose bright colors and soft plastic or rubber items to make the new items more attractive to the kids. Give them something to swing on instead of your canopy swing, and be sure to give them a shaded place that appeals to their interests, too!
So are you ready to let the kids back in the yard again? Now that you know how to take care of kids around canopy swings, and how to choose the right swing or update yours for better safety, you shouldn’t have to worry nearly as much about letting them have fun outside.
It’s important to keep an eye on the kids as much as possible, but with these tips to help you out, you can rest easy knowing you’re doing everything you can to make your canopy swing a safe space for the whole family. There are tons of ways to make this work, so don’t worry! You’ve got a lot of options.
Of course, you can always purchase a kids’ lawn swing with canopy attachments if you want to let the little ones have a safer place to swing and play. Kids’ swings are available in a lot of different sizes, colors, and styles, and they’re small enough not to hurt the little ones if they happen to topple over. They’re also made with safer pieces, so the chance for injury is even less.
A kids-only canopy swing might deter the younger members of the family from crawling on your swing or playing too roughly in it, but it’s not a perfect solution. The kids may still be drawn to the “grown up” swing, so keep in mind these other tips to be sure your kids are as safe as possible at all times.
Get ready to enjoy your backyard peacefully once again!