When it comes to providing enough physical activity and exercise for your little one, you must make sure that they are safe – especially when playing outside. If you install a swing set and have a young infant or toddler, you will most likely add a baby swing to the swing set. While there are many different types of baby swings to choose from, the rules regarding their installment and how high they should sit off the ground do not change.
So, why do baby swings sit so low to the ground? Baby swings sit low to the ground to ensure that your little one doesn’t have a fatal fall if they manage to stand up and get out of their swing. However, you must make sure that your swing doesn’t sit low enough for your child to push themselves out of the swing.
For outdoor playground equipment used at home, the minimum distance a baby swing should sit above the ground is 8 inches. This allows enough room for your little one’s legs to hang while they swing but isn’t low enough for them to touch the ground. The distance between your baby’s swing and the ground will grow as they grow.
Swing sets are great for promoting physical movement in children because most swing sets on the market today come with a variety of fun items, like slides, teeter-totters, and even small clubhouses. Today’s swing sets are not our parent’s swing sets!
Why are Baby Swings So Low to the Ground?
Baby swings sit low to the ground in order to prevent fatal falls. Babies are curious and will test their limits at times, especially in situations that are new to them. So, the higher the swing is installed, the further your little one can fall if they manage to get out of the safety restraints and push themselves out of the swing.
The rules regarding swings on swing sets that are set up in private yards include:
- Minimum of 8 inches between swings with limited sideways motion.
- Minimum of 16 inches between a baby (tot) swing and support poles (measured at 22 inches above the seat’s surface).
- Minimum of 8 inches between the bottom of the swing and the protective surfacing under the swing set.
- Disc swings must be placed in separate bays from other swinging equipment because they have a much larger swinging range and can cause crashes.
- Baby swings should be placed at least 8 inches away from other structures on the swing set, like teeter-totters.
One factor to remember is that the distance between your baby’s swing and the ground will change as they grow. While the minimum distance is 8 inches, as your child grows and gets taller, you will have to move the swing higher to make sure that they cannot touch the ground beneath them and get themselves out of their swing.
If you have a baby swing set inside of your home or a baby swing hanging from a doorway or other opening, the minimum distance rules still apply.
Additional Baby Swing Safety Measures
Making sure that your baby cannot maneuver themselves out of their swing with their feet is just one safety consideration when it comes to baby swings. There are other safety concerns to address, as well. Purchasing a swing that is structurally sound, installing the swing properly, being sure the weight limit of the swing will hold your baby, and ensuring that any safety harnesses or devices on the swing work are some other safety concerns you must address.
Purchasing a Swing that is Structurally Sound
Baby swings, often referred to as tot swings, are made from a variety of materials, such as rubber, plastic, and even fabric. For swings made from plastic, it is recommended to look for durable polymer plastic. Additionally, looking at the reviews on a baby swing can be very beneficial because the reviews will often reveal any weaknesses or negative aspects of the swing that the manufacturer may not reveal.
Some highly recommended tot swings that you can look at are:
- Secure Canvas Hanging Swing by Happy Pie Play & Adventure is an indoor or outdoor hammock-like swing set made from canvas fabric and high-quality wood. It comes highly rated and is an Amazon’s Choice product. It’s designed for little ones aged 6 months to 3 years old, so your child can enjoy it for a long time. This canvas swing is a safe fabric-made alternative to plastic or rubber swings.
- Step2’s Infant to Toddler Swing Set is a plastic tot swing option that fits most backyard swing sets. It comes equipped with a restraint system to make sure that your baby stays securely inside of the swing. Additionally, the swing and the rope it hangs with are weather resistant and can hold a child that weighs up to 50 pounds!
- This Eastern Jungle Gym Bucket baby swing is not only an Amazon’s Choice product, but it is also the baby swing that most of us know and love for being safe! It comes fully assembled and is a fully enclosed swing with a high back for even more safety and support for your child. The chains are coated with pinch-free yellow plastisol to prevent the chance of injury.
No matter how structurally sound your swing is, you should wait until your baby is old enough to sit up without assistance before allowing them onto an outdoor swing. Generally, this is around 9 months of age. Additionally, you should always be within arms distance of your child when they are in an outdoor swing.
Installing the Swing Properly
Another way to ensure your child’s safety while swinging in a baby swing is to be absolutely sure that the swing is installed correctly. Most swings will come with carabiners, or snap hooks, attached to the ropes that the swing will be suspended from. You can simply attach the swing to your swing set with the carabiners. Ropes are usually used to suspend baby swings because chains can pinch little fingers.
Connecting the swing to a swing set with the carabiners is the easiest and quickest way to install your baby swing; however, there are a couple of other ways to install your tot swing that may better fit your preferences.
- Use swing straps to install your baby swing anywhere you’d like. You can use swing straps to connect the swing to a beam on your porch or around a tree branch. The best part of using swing straps is that you can take the swing with you when you go places, so you have a mobile swing for your baby.
- You can permanently install your baby swing with hardware in your home or backyard, as well. You just need a pair of eyehooks. Install the eyehooks where you want to hang your swing, and then hang the swing from them. You will need a strong beam like a wooden doorway or the top of a swing set for permanent installation.
Checking the Weight Limits of Your Swing
Always check the weight limits of the swing that you are planning to purchase. Some swings are made tougher than others and will handle more weight. Take into consideration how long you want your baby to be able to enjoy their swing. Many swings are considered infant-to-toddler swings and will have a larger weight range than others in order to hold your child from infancy to toddlerhood.
Checking the Function and Integrity of Safety Harnesses
Some swings, like the well-known “bucket” tot swing, don’t have safety harnesses because they are built to prevent the baby from climbing out. Other swings, however, come equipped with safety features like belts or harnesses to make sure that your child doesn’t escape the swings. Common safety features like this include safety belts, 5-point harnesses, and plastic chest protectors.
If you are using a swing with safety harnesses, make sure to fasten and unfasten them each time before placing your child into the swing. This helps you know if the fasteners are working properly or not. Once your baby is in the seat and buckled up, pull on each of the fasteners to see if they open. If they stay closed, your baby should be buckled safely and ready to swing!
Inside Swings for Your Baby
Even though outdoor baby swings are lots of fun for your toddler, it may not be feasible to let them swing on outdoor swings. If they are too young to sit up without help or if you are not able to be outside with them to monitor them on the swing, it’s not safe to let them play on an outdoor swing. For times like these, you have the option of using inside baby swing sets and indoor hanging baby swings.
Indoor swing sets are amazing because they give the fun of an outdoor swing set to your baby while indoors. They are smaller versions of outdoor swing sets equipped with a single baby swing that usually has a safety harness. These indoor swing sets allow you to tend to things in your home while your baby plays – and you can also sit right next to them while they enjoy swinging!
This Sportspower My First Toddler Swing is a heavy-duty swing set that can actually be used indoors or outdoors. It is an Amazon’s Choice product that is lightweight yet durable and made for large rooms or any size yard. The single infant swing on the swing set is equipped with safety harnesses and holds up to 55 lbs.
Most infant swings that are made for outdoors can also be placed into your home in a doorway. Simply install eyehooks securely in a doorway or opening of your choice and attach a baby swing to the hooks. Your baby can enjoy all the perks of swinging outside without you having to worry about being outside to monitor!
Baby swings are a fun and exciting way for your child to enjoy themselves, but they can also be dangerous if you do not follow proper safety protocol, beginning with how low they should sit to the ground.
Remember that the bottom of your baby’s swing should sit at a minimum of 8 inches from the ground; however, as your child grows, this minimum will increase according to the length of their legs. You should also do the following to ensure your baby’s swinging safety: make sure the swing is structurally sound, installed properly, can hold your child’s weight, and has functional safety harnesses.