Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Backyard Safety
Tips from Recreation Unlimited

by Megan Kirschner

June 01, 2011

It’s time to pump up the basketball balls, clean off the playground equipment and get ready for the backyard play days to begin. With the kids being outside more, parents want to make sure their kids are safe. But what are the proper precautions to take when dealing with backyard safety issues?

Owner of Recreation Unlimited, Brad Riley, talked with Indy’s Child, and told us his list of important safety measures to follow.

Choosing a Playset:

• When selecting playsets, there are some things to look for, said Riley. Find one that fits your backyard space and not one that is too big for the area. For commercial playsets, it is required that there is a six foot safety boundary around the perimeter of the set.

• Find deep slides. With shallow slides it is easier for kids to fall off the sides, but with deep slides kids get cradled into them.

• Look for climbing ladders that are angled, not vertical.

• Recessed hardware is also important so kids do not get snagged.

• Plastic chains with some kind of coating is a good idea so kids’ fingers do not get pinched.

• One of the biggest things that gets ignored, said Riley, is making sure that the playsets are translucent, meaning you can see through them, thus allowing parents to observe their children at all times. When you have a playset with solid walls you can’t tell if the kids are hurt, and parents need to be able to look out and see what is going on.

• Stay away from purchasing conflicting play areas, such as monkey bars with swings attached. This is not a good situation if a child drops and hits the swing.

Basketball Goals:

• The main thing is to place basketball goals on a flat part of the driveway. A lot of driveways slope to the street, so try to use a protective netting that prohibits kids from chasing balls into the street.

• Adjustable basketball goals with a cranking mechanism that goes up and down is a good idea. The cranking mechanism, however, needs a safety stop on the post so if there is a failure with the cranking mechanism, the safety stop would catch itself.

• Stay away from portable basketball goals. These are the most dangerous, said Riley. When kids dunk and hang from the rims, there is not enough weight and they tend to fall over and land on the child. Riley recommends installing a permanent in-ground goal, rather than purchasing a portable goal.


• Recreation Unlimited sells the “World’s Safest Trampoline” the Springfree™ Trampoline. It has never had a claim against it for someone getting injured, said Riley, and it has unique safety features. The entire trampoline is based on safety as it uses flexible fiberglass rods to give a soft non-jarring bounce. The rods lie beneath the jumping surface and out of harms way. “We’ve never carried trampolines until now, and we have had parents come in with fear for injury that will buy this one,” said Riley.

Hot Tubs:

• If purchasing a hot tub, make sure to buy one with an anti-suction release on the bottom. Within two years, all hot tubs will require an anti-suction release mechanism. Parents need to make sure the hot tub they are purchasing has this feature, as it is very common for children’s skin and clothing to get stuck to the bottom, resulting in many fatal accidents.