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Proper Spacing for a Swingset Ladder

When you design a play area for children, it is necessary to consider the age and size of the children who will use it. As part of that process, you will need to space the ladder steps according to the physical needs of children who will be use them. There should not be any spaces on swing sets that can potentially trap the child's arm, head or any other body part. The rungs on the ladders should either be less than 3-1/2 inches or more than 9 inches apart, according to KidsHealth.org.

Design of Play Equipment

Play equipment for children is typically designed for three different age groups; under 2 years old; 2 to 5 years old; and 5 to 12 years old. For safety it is best to designate separate areas for the younger children and the older ones since the equipment designed for older children can prove harmful for the younger ones. You need to pay special attention to the spacing of equipment on play structures. Swings should be spaced 24 inches apart and there should be 30 inches between the swings and the support frame. Make sure there are no spaces in the play set that could trap any part of the child's body. All such openings, especially ladder rungs, should either be less than 3-1/2 inches or wider than 9 inches, according to Kids Health, a website on child health and safety sponsored by the Nemours Foundation.

Other Safety Considerations

Cap the screws to avoid chances of cuts and scrapes from protruding bolt or screw heads and make sure that chains are covered with rubber coating or silicone-like casings to keep them from pinching and cutting hands and fingers. Also check for other rough edges or surfaces and either cover them or sand them so that they don't damage skin or clothing. Do not place metal slides in areas that are likely to receive full sun as this can cause burns to exposed arms and legs. Check all equipment regularly for breaks or cracks as these can cause serious injury. Provide 2 to 2-1/2 inches of sides on slides and do not place them at more than a 30-degree angle. The maximum height of slides should be 8 feet.

About the Author

Irum Sarfaraz is a freelance writer with over 20 years of nonfiction writing experience in newspaper op-eds and magazine writing, book editing, translating and research writing. Sarfaraz is originally from Pakistan and has been published in both American and Pakistani newspapers and magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, and diplomas in nonfiction writing.