Outdoor Toys Maintenance & Safety Tips for Spring
Checking your outdoor toys throughout the year is important, especially after the winter. So we've put together this handy list to help you check and maintain your trampoline, climbing frame, swings and other popular outdoor toys. Follow these top tips and in no time you can start having fun again!February 2015
Trampoline Maintenance Tips
Probably the most popular of the larger outdoor toys, trampolines need a little TLC to keep them safe and fun. Here's our 'to do' list for trampoline maintenance:
- Reposition the trampoline to a level and stable grass surface far from any overhead obstacles and 2.5m from any surrounding fences/walls etc.
- Remove the winter cover and check the mat, springs and frame and connecting parts for signs of wear and tear.
- Remove twigs and debris around the frame and underneath the protective padding.
- Put up the protective netting and check all the stitching and attachments are intact.
- Make sure the frame is sound, checking each joint and oiling where necessary.
- A sagging jump mat is a sign the springs are overstretched: replace these parts if necessary.
Safety Tip: Don't use the trampoline if there are tears or holes in the jump mat – remember you can shop for replacement parts including springs, replacement enclosures and safety pads for your trampoline here.
Climbing Frames, Swings & Slides Maintenance Tips
Whether you've got a metal or wooden climbing frame, these safety maintenance tips apply:
- Check all the main parts and fixings are secure.
- Oil the metallic parts and tighten screws and bolts where necessary.
- Smooth down any splintered or rough areas with a sander.
- Thoroughly check attachments like swings and handles for safety.
- If you've left the swings outside over winter, check the rope for deterioration and replace if necessary.
- It's best to detach swings and store them in a dry place over winter.
Wooden play sets from brands like Plum come pressure treated to inhibit rot and infestation, so all you will need to do to preserve the climbing frame is a simple annual treatment of a water-based wood stain, suitable for use on children's play equipment and you're all set!Shop our full range of climbing frames, swings and slides
We asked mum of one, Sam of Happy Homebird, to give us her top tips for getting outdoor toys safe for spring
Algae and mould can be really slippery, especially on climbing frame steps and walkways, so scrub them clean with household disinfectant and leave to dry before use. Check the steps on slides too, as these can become slippery during winter.
Leaf and plant material can collect in grooves and gaps between toy parts, so we remove this during our safety inspection. We also remove any creatures like slugs and snails that may have set up home in the toy over winter!
Our garden table and chairs are also climbing toys to our five year old son! If your kids are climbers too, it's worth checking over the chairs and table to make sure they're structurally sturdy. We give them good clean too, scrubbing away any mould and mildew so that our outdoor snack time is on a germ-free surface
Sandpit Maintenance Tips from Sam
"Our sand pits and water table are great sensory toys for our son but after the winter all sorts of nasties may be lurking in them from bacteria to creepy crawlies.
We always replace the play sand in spring and give the sandbox a thorough wash. Same for the water table, cleaning all its post-winter dirty parts and accessories with an antibacterial solution to make it hygienic for our son to play with again."
Sam's Top Spring Cleaning Tips for Toys:
"Check over all the toys that got chucked in the shed last autumn. Some will need repair and the ones your child has outgrown can be passed on. Any toys with moving parts will need their screws tightening and we always check for cracks in plastic toys as the cold can damage toys too.
Likewise for wheeled toys - scooters, tricycles, ride-on cars and skateboards - get rid of winter dirt, carry out a wheel test for punctures and look over moving parts to ensure they are safe. Collect all safety pads and helmets together too so they are fresh and ready, making sure they are all intact and in working order."
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When following tips and advice, always use your common sense. Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions and if in doubt, consult the manufacturer.