Swings

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What is a swing?

A swing is a piece of playground equipment with a seat that is generally attached to a frame using a length of rope/chain. Children sit down on the seat and by moving their legs forward and backward create a swinging motion that causes the seat to swing high. The swinging may also be assisted by another person pushing from behind.

How may a child be injured?

Cuts and bruises

  • Children may fall from a swing and sustain cuts and bruises.
  • Children may also experience cuts and bruises if the chain links, holding the swing to the frame, crush a child’s fingers due to being exposed and not covered in plastic.

Falls

  • Children may lose their balance on a swing as a result of standing on a swing or holding onto a swing incorrectly which may lead to a fall.

Strangulation

  • Children may get twisted in the rope/chain/wire attaching the swing to the frame and, in extreme cases, be strangled by this movement.

Struck by object

  • Children may be hit or knocked over while walking in front of/or behind another child who is on the swing.

How common are these injuries?

In Victoria, between 2010/11 and 2012/13, 249 children (aged 0-14 years) were admitted to hospital for fall injuries associated with swings. There are no recent published statistics available for NSW.1

Is there a Law or an Australian Standard for swings?

It is recommended that manufacturers of swing sets follow the Australian Standard (AS/NZ 4685.2:2014).

It is recommended that the installation of swing sets also follow the Australian Standard (AS/NZS ISO 8124.6:2011 and Amdt 1:2012).

These are voluntary standards that manufacturers and installers are not required to meet, however The Children’s Hospital at Westmead suggests that you purchase a swing set that meets the standards. Please keep in mind the following when installing swings at home:

- anchor the swing well.

- place a soft surface underneath the swing that extends 2.5m past the longest point of extension from the swing seat, in both the forward and backward directions. This soft surface should be 300mm deep.

- leave a large, open space around the swing.

(Check the standard for detailed information.)

References

1 Cassell E and Clapperton A. Preventing serious fall injury in children (1): Overview and playground equipment. Hazard Edition No. 77; 2014.

 Remember:

  • Purchase a swing set that meets the Australian Standards.

  • Make sure that children are supervised at all times by a responsible adult when using swings.

  • Check for products that have been recalled (www.recalls.gov.au) prior to buying or borrowing an item for use by your child.