Spring swing safety warning

One of the essential Latvian Easter traditions is swinging, but anyone planning to swing over the holidays is being urged to check the safety of said swings before dallying with the forces of gravity, momentum and inertia. 

The Consumer Rights Protection Center (PTAC) recommends that memers of the public follow some simple tips to avoid coming down to earth with a bump – or worse.

Traditional Easter swings are high-risk mechanisms because they have a massive wooden seat or platform that does not meet shock attenuation requirements, often with fixed-pole suspension, and a high drop height. This means that being near them and being hit by them can cause significant, even fatal, injuries, especially to children.

Therefore, PTAC invites people to choose safe swings in private or public playgrounds that use chains or ropes as suspensions and a rubber or polymer seats for Easter fun.

For maximum swinging fun, choose swings where the swing is far enough away from other equipment or objects and the swing area is clear of any obstructions so that children do not accidentally run or ride a bicycle into the direct impact area of ​​the swing.

It is important that the swing is also provided with a sufficiently cushioning surroundings so that there is no hard ground, concrete slabs, asphalt or other hard material under it. Also, swings should be placed at a safe distance from bodies of water, concrete curbs and tables or picnic areas to prevent any possible trauma.

Taking into account the peculiarities of children's development, and their unpredictable nature, it is very important to constantly watch and look after them, says PTAC. When in playgrounds or entertainment areas, children jump from one activity to another and can run into the swing area in an instant, so it is important that parents and other adults keep a close eye on children and do not allow them to get close to the swing while it is in motion, as this can cause serious injuries, especially if it is an iron or heavy wooden swing.

It is also important to make sure that children do not swing too high, do not to jump off the swing, and do not try a "Look, no hands!" move to impress their peers.

PTAC reminds that if a child gets injured in a publicly accessible playground and recreation area, the owner of the playground is responsible, so there are standards that regulate playground safety.

Playgrounds that meet certain characteristics must be registered in a database maintained by the PTAC. Currently, 755 playgrounds are registered in the database of PTAC Public Playgrounds. The database contains information about public playgrounds and recreation grounds registered in Latvia, their legal owners and managers, and it is also possible to find out what playground equipment is available at each of them. 

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