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Published: Thursday, 8/7/2008

Tips for Purchasing the Perfect Play System

(ARA) - Children everywhere look to their back yards for fun, so it's no surprise parents across the country are looking to play sets as the solution to keeping the minds and bodies of their children active. But deciding what set is appropriate and knowing what safety features to ask for can be overwhelming.

Rainbow Play Systems, Inc. offers the following tips to get parents through swing set season.

Pick A Set That Can Grow With Your Child.

Many parents go into the swing set buying experience expecting a once-in-a-lifetime purchase only to realize that's not always the case, says Todd Hemme of Rainbow Play Systems.

"We see a lot of first-time customers who are shopping for their second or third swing set because their kids have outgrown them," Hemme says. "Choose a modular play structure, as they're designed to expand. This concept is usually more economical than buying multiple swing sets."

Walk Around Your Back Yard.

Pick a spot in the back yard that provides ample room away from vegetation, fences, landscape rocks and other objects. "A good rule of thumb is to plan for an additional 6 feet of extra space in all directions around the structure," says Hemme. "This will give your kids the necessary room to swing and jump freely, without landing on the azaleas."

If space is at a premium, consider looking into play structures that are built for cramped yards. Rainbow builds a Spacesaver Series of play structures that is compact but still offers all the play value.

Know Your Materials.

Before buying, there are several questions that should be asked about the strength and quality of the materials used.

"Ask the sales person what species of lumber they use. If it's pine, it's important to know it may be pre-treated with chemicals that could be dangerous," Hemme says. "Instead, look for lumber such as cedar and redwood. Both are highly durable and do not require treatment to maintain their integrity."

In addition, parents should ensure all hardware is recessed and capped, that all corners and edges are rounded and that the play structure's deck height does not exceed the width of its base.

Try Before You Buy.

Often, what you see on the computer screen or in a catalog will look different in person. Visit swing set showrooms that have a variety of models on display where you can check out the sizes of the swing sets and inspect its features. The sales staff should be able to help you identify an appropriate model for your needs. Climb on the swing sets to get a feel for their roominess and structural integrity and apply the "grab and shake" test to rule out wobbly designs.

Enjoy The Experience.

Although there are many things to consider when purchasing a swing set, it's an exciting time for parents and children. Ultimately, a good swing set investment is measured by the joy and fun it brings to your child, helping to develop lifelong skills and create priceless memories throughout their growing years. Courtesy of ARAcontent

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