Swing Recommendations

Swing Recommendations

Public Playground Safety Handbook - CPSC Publication 325
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

5.3.8 Swings

Children of all ages generally enjoy the sensations created while swinging. Mostly they sit on the swings; however, it is common to see children jumping off swings. Younger children also tend to swing on their stomachs, and older children may stand on the seats. To prevent injuries, these behaviors should be discouraged. Swings may be divided into two distinct types:
• Single axis: Sometimes called a to-fro swing. A single-axis swing is intended to swing back and forth in a single plane and generally consists of a seat supported by at least two suspending members, each of which is connected to a separate pivot on an overhead structure.
• Multi-axis: A multi-axis swing consists of a seat (generally a tire) suspended from a single pivot that permits it to swing in any direction. General swing recommendations

• Hardware used to secure the suspending elements to the swing seat and to the supporting structure should not be removable without the use of tools.
• S-hooks are often part of a swing’s suspension system, either attaching the suspending elements to the overhead support bar or to the swing seat. Open S-hooks can catch a child’s clothing and present a strangulation hazard. S-hooks should be pinched closed. An S-hook is considered closed if there is no gap or space greater than 0.04 inches (about the thickness of a dime).
• Swings should be suspended from support structures that discourage climbing.
• A-frame support structures should not have horizontal cross-bars.
• Fiber ropes are not recommended as a means of suspending swings since they may degrade over time.
• Swing structures should be located away from other equipment or activities to help prevent young children from inadvertently running into the path of moving swings. Additional protection can be provided by means of a low blockade such as a fence or hedge around the perimeter of the swing area. The blockade should not be an obstacle within the use zone of a swing structure or hamper supervision by blocking visibility. Fall height

The fall height for swings is the vertical distance between the pivot point and the protective surfacing beneath it. Single-axis swings Belt seats used without adult assistance
• The use zone to the front and rear of single-axis swings should never overlap the use zone of another piece of equipment.
• To minimize the likelihood of children being struck by a moving swing, it is recommended that no more than two single-axis swings be hung in each bay of the supporting structure.
• Swings should not be attached to composite structures.
• Swing seats should be designed to accommodate no more than one user at any time.
• Lightweight rubber or plastic swing seats are recommended to help reduce the severity of impact injuries. Wood or metal swing seats should be avoided.
• Edges of seats should have smoothly finished or rounded edges and should conform to the protrusion recommendations in
• If loose-fill material is used as a protective surfacing, the height recommendations should be determined after the material has been compressed. Full bucket seat swings

Full bucket seat swings are similar to single-axis swings since they move in a to-fro direction. However, full bucket seat swings are intended for children under 4 years of age to use with adult assistance.
• The seats and suspension systems of these swings, including the related hardware, should follow all of the criteria for conventional single axis swings.
• Full bucket seats are recommended to provide support on all sides of a child and between the legs of the occupant(see Figure 24).
• The full bucket seat materials should not present a strangulation hazard, such as might be presented with a rope or chain used as part of the seat.
• Openings in swing seats should conform to the entrapment criteria in §3.3.
• Full bucket seat swings should be suspended from structures that are separate from those for other swings, or at least suspended from a separate bay of the same structure.
• Full bucket seat swings should not allow the child to enter and exit alone.
• Pivot points should be more than 47 inches but no more than 96 inches above the protective surfacing. Use zone for single-axis swings – belt and full bucket

The use zone in front of and behind the swing should be greater than to the sides of such a swing since children may deliberately attempt to exit from a single-axis swing while it is in motion. See Figure 25.
• The use zone for a belt swing should extend to the front and rear of a single-axis swing a minimum distance of twice the vertical distance from the pivot point and the top of the protective surface beneath it.
• The use zone for a full bucket swing should extend to the front and rear a minimum of twice the vertical distance from the top of the occupant’s sitting surface to the pivot point.
• The use zone in front of and behind swings should never overlap with any other use zone.
• The use zone to the sides of a single-axis swing should extend a minimum of 6 feet from the perimeter of the swing. This 6-foot zone may overlap that of an adjacent swing structure or other playground equipment structure. Multi-axis (tire) swings Tire swings are usually suspended in a horizontal orientation using three suspension chains or cables connected to a single swivel mechanism that permits both rotation and swinging motion in any axis.
• A multi-axis tire swing should not be suspended from a structure having other swings in the same bay.
• Attaching multi-axis swings to composite structures is not recommended.
• To minimize the hazard of impact, heavy truck tires should be avoided. Further, if steel-belted radials are used, they should be closely examined to ensure that there are no exposed steel belts or wires that could be a potential protrusion or laceration hazard. Plastic materials can be used as an alternative to simulate actual automobile tires. Drainage holes should be provided in the underside of the tire.
• Pay special attention to maintenance of the hanger mechanism because the likelihood of failure is higher for tire swings due to the added stress of rotational movement and multiple occupants.
• The hanger mechanisms for multi-axis tire swings should not have any accessible crush points.
• The minimum clearance between the seating surface of a tire swing and the uprights of the supporting structure should be 30 inches when the tire is in a position closest to the support structure (Figure 26).
• The minimum clearance between the bottom of the seat and the protective surface should not be less than 12inches. Multi-axis swing use zones

• The use zone should extend in any direction from a point directly beneath the pivot point for a minimum distance of 6 feet plus the length of the suspending members (see Figure 27). This use zone should never overlap the use zone of any other equipment.
• The use zone should extend a minimum of 6 feet from the perimeter of the supporting structure. This 6-foot zone may overlap that of an adjacent swing structure or other playground equipment structure. 5.3.

8.5 Protrusions on suspended members of swing assemblies

Protrusions on swings are extremely hazardous because of the potential for impact incidents. Nothing, including bolts or other parts, on the front, back, or underside of a swing should stick out more than 1/8 of an inch.

5.3.9 Fall height and use zones for composite structure

When two or more complementary play components are linked together in a composite structure (e.g., combination climber, slide, and horizontal ladder), the use zone should extend a minimum of 6 feet from the external perimeter of the structure (see Figure 28). Where slides are attached to a platform higher than 6 feet from the protective surfacing, the use zone may need to extend further in front of the slide (see§

5.3.10 Fall height and use zones not specified elsewhere

Most playground equipment belongs in one of the categories listed above. If it does not, the following general recommendations should be applied:
• The fall height of a piece of playground equipment is the distance between the highest designated playing surface and the protective surface beneath it.
• The use zone should extend a minimum of 6 feet in all directions from the perimeter of the equipment.
• The use zones of two stationary pieces of playground equipment that are positioned adjacent to one another may overlap if the adjacent designated play surfaces of each structure are no more than 30 inches above the protective surface and the equipment is at least 6 feet apart.
• If adjacent designated play surfaces on either structure exceed a height of 30 inches, the minimum distance between the structures should be 9 feet.
• Use zones should be free of obstacles.