Keeping your play equipment will help make it last as long as possible and also ensure it is safe for your children. We would advise checking over your child's play equipment at the start of the season (when your children are likely to start using it most). If they use it all year round then regular checks are advisable (at least once a month).
Follow our checklist below to make sure you keep your climbing frame or play equipment well maintained:
Wooden Climbing Frame Parts
- Check for splinters
- Inspect for other structural defects
- Please Note: as wood is a natural product it will expand and contract with differing levels of moisture. The small splits or cracks caused by this are usually nothing to worry about. Round timbers are prone to cracking or splitting more than square timbers.
Climbing Frame Accessories
- Check swing hooks are correctly attached
- Ensure Carabiner hooks are fully closed and sitting correctly
- Inspect swing ropes for any excess fraying - where any fraying has occured, open the strands to make sure the main filaments are not broken
- Make sure any safety straps on baby seats are still intact and attached to the seat correctly
- Hang your full body weight onto each rope, or sit on each seat if appropriate - just for a few seconds. If any of the swing hooks or hangers sqeak, you can lubricate with olive oil or any other vegetable oils.
- Check any slides, specifically looking at where they attach to the platform. Make sure you look at the underside as well as the top. Also check to make sure there is nothing protruding or any opening where strings, hair ties or other pieces of clothing may catch.
- Keeping your accessories clean with warm water and a mild detergent will help prolong their life. If you have a particularly dirty slide or plastic swing seat, you could use a hose or pressure washer to clean these - making sure you avoid the timbers and metal attachments and screws.
Climbing Frame Fixtures and Fittings
- Check all screws, nuts and bolts to make sure they are tight - be careful when tightening not to over-tighten. This is especially important when tightening directly into wood as being too vigorous may crush the timber around the screw or split the wood.
- Check swing hooks, hangers and corner brackets for excessive rust. If rust has eaten through any part of the metal then it will need replacing. Most climbing frame parts are made from galvanised steel, but this is not always the case so double check and try to buy galvanised if you can.
- Inspect where all the bolts and fixings are around the frame to make sure there are no sharp parts sticking out. If bolt covers have come off, this may reveal sharp bolts so it is important to make sure these are covered or replaced. If you find any sharp edges of timber you can sand these down
- If your climbing frame is anchored into the ground with metal anchors, check these to make sure they have not been dislodged. Move them if necessary
- If your climbing frame is concreted in, check each hold around the uprights to make sure it is still solid, over time the ground around the concrete may wear away slightly making the upright less stable. Replace or renew the upright footings if necessary