When it comes to classic outdoor playground equipment, nothing beats a good old-fashioned climbing frame. These wonderful jungle gyms have been going for over a hundred years and never fail to keep a child entertained on a summer's day.
And, whilst there is endless fun to be had (and plenty of benefits of outdoor play for kids), you also want to make sure playtime is as safe as possible for your little ones. In this blog, we'll be looking at some of the main ways you can keep kids safe on climbing frames.
So pop the kettle on and put your trust in us!
How to keep kids safe on climbing frames
Kids are unpredictable, and when teamed up with the great outdoors, playtime can sometimes bring an air of uncertainty.
Your children will be climbing, gleefully darting around, and sometimes tackling obstacles at heights as they revel in the joy of outdoor play.
And, as parents, you want to ensure they are getting the most of playtime without putting themselves at risk. Luckily, there are a few tasks you can do to make sure your little ones are safe and out of harm's way.
Set up your climbing frame safely
First things first, set up the climbing frame.
If you're building a climbing frame yourself, it's crucial to take the proper time to ensure it's sturdy and fit to play on. Fortunately, this can be done relatively simply.
When selecting somewhere to place your climbing frame, look for areas with level, firm-to-soft ground and wide open space. This is a key part of keeping your child safe. You’ll need to choose an area that will provide a stable foundation while avoiding interference from trees or pesky critters.
Next, assemble the climbing frame according to the handbook provided. It is important to avoid cutting any corners or skipping steps during the construction process, as this could lead to a fault in the frame later down the line.
Use ground anchors to make the frame as structurally sound as possible on your chosen playground. Ground anchors connect the structure to the floor by firmly locking them together and are a recommended safety feature.
Set clear climbing frame rules for your kids
We know that the "r" word can be seen as a dreaded curse to children, so even if you’re met with a mountain of moans, rules are in place to ensure everyone has the best possible time.
As parents, you'll have different rules for children of different ages. Younger children need adult supervision, whereas slightly older kids may have a bit more freedom but are encouraged to be careful.
No matter their age, kids need a firm understanding of what is allowed and what is not when playing on climbing frames.
Here are some key rules that children should follow when playing
- No stunts: Children should not be doing anything risky on the frames. No big jumps or risky stunts; this isn’t the movies!
- No climbing in poor weather: To avoid slipping, climbing frames should be off-limits during rainy, icy or even windy conditions.
- Keep appropriate distance from each other: A crowded climbing frame increases the risk of people getting hurt. If you're lucky enough to have lots of children, enforce a 1-on-1-off policy.
- Suitable clothing: Ensure children playing on the structures are dressed appropriately. This includes grippy trainers and avoiding loose clothing that could easily get caught on things.
- No rough play: The climbing frame is no place for horseplay, pushing or shoving. To keep everyone safe, children should be taught to be kind and respectful to one another.
Establishing clear rules within playtime will help children understand right and wrong, alongside the risks of any misbehaviour on the frame!
Perform regular maintenance and inspections of your climbing frame
Like any structure, it makes sense to inspect them once every six months or so, checking on the strength of the joints, supports and the overall body of the frame. You’ll want to keep an eye out for any signs of excessive wear on the climbing frame.
Being on top of the maintenance allows you to spot something early and prevent any unfortunate accidents should something go wrong with the frame.
To help, we've created a short checklist to keep your child's climbing frame as safe as possible:
- Tighten bolts and fasteners: Check all bolts, screws, and fasteners to ensure they are properly tightened and sturdy. Anchoring kits are a great way to keep your climbing frame securely fixed to the ground.
- Maintain wooden parts: If your climbing frame has wooden parts, it helps to treat the wood with a suitable outdoor wood preservative to protect it from the elements. Depending on the climate, you'll need to reapply this every year or so.
- Clean regularly: Remove any dirt, leaves, and debris from the climbing frame regularly. This will ensure there is no waste buildup, which could become a hazard.
- Protect against rust: If your climbing frame has any metal parts, we recommend applying a rust-resistant coating to prevent corrosion. This keeps the climbing frame as presentable as possible while maintaining its integrity.
Be prepared for any emergency
It’s no secret that children are among the clumsiest of us all, and that’s why, even after thorough coaching, accidents can still happen.
As parents, you’ll probably already be well acquainted with the family first aid kit. However, make sure it is filled to the brim with essentials so you’re well-equipped in the event of any minor injuries such as cuts or grazes.
How to choose a safe climbing frame for your children
When choosing a climbing frame, you’ll want to keep in mind the size of your outdoor space and what might be best for your children.
At Outdoor Toys, our range of high-quality climbing frames comes with a selection of features to choose from, such as climbing frames with slides, monkey bars, climbing frames with swings and even with rock walls. Whether you’re looking for some play area ideas for a small garden or you have enough space to twirl a cane, you can find exactly what you’re looking for right here.
Keep kids safe and happy with an Outdoor Toys climbing frame
When it comes to play equipment, we really know our stuff. Whether you're looking for a climbing frame, a perfect set of swings or a fun-filled trampoline, we'll help you find something to keep your little ones and their comrades entertained for hours.
If you need help with what to go for or have any questions regarding our products, please contact one of our experts!
FAQs about climbing frame safety
Are metal or wooden climbing frames better?
Climbing frames are usually constructed using wood, metal, or plastic. Metal frames tend to be the most robust and durable, but wooden frames, like pressure-treated timber, are reliable and can provide a warm, traditional aesthetic.
Plastic frames, usually lightweight and easy to assemble, are more suited to smaller children.
How do you make a climbing frame safe?
There are several ways to make a climbing frame safe. To make your little one's climbing experience as safe as possible, consider investing in climbing frame garden safety mats, ground anchors and softened flooring solutions. If you’re looking for an effective climbing frame safety surface, a bed of wood chippings is an excellent choice. This will cushion your child’s falls far better than a paved surface and prevent heavy footfall from wearing away patches of your lawn.