Seesaws are a classic part of every playground, offering the opportunity for children to practice balancing, communication, and cooperation with each other. They have a simple design that is easily integrated into any playground site but is still popular with the kids. Fulcrum seesaws are not recommended for children aged 2-5, but spring centered seesaws can be used by preschoolers.
This equipment consists of a fulcrum- or a spring, a board, and a pole. Seesaws also need to have handrails but they should not extend beyond the edges of the seats or be able to rotate at all when grabbed. Footrests should not be included in this kind of equipment, either. The seesaw should not allow the seat to reach a height of over 5’ and the maximum angle that should be attainable between the ground and the board is 25 degrees.
The use zone for should extend 6 feet from each outside edge of the seesaw, but the use zone can overlap with other equipment in certain, specific circumstances, granted that the other equipment also allows for overlapping in its use zone. The fall height also needs to be taken into consideration with Seesaws. The fall height is the distance between the highest point the seat of the element can reach and the ground. The height of the equipment, size, and distance to other playground structures also needs to be dependent on the age groups that are most likely to use the equipment.
Even with the above regulations, there are several other safety concerns that need to be considered when adding a seesaw to a playground or repairing existing equipment. Being aware of all of the different hazards is the best way to prevent any serious injuries from occurring on your site. Fulcrums are one of the more dangerous aspects of seesaws. See our sections on crush and shear hazards to make sure that your playground meets all ASTM requirements and to keep your equipment safe for use.
The area around the seat of the seesaw also needs to be inspected to make sure that the child using the equipment has a safe place to land, especially in case of a fall. Shock absorbing material, like shock pads or other rubber components, needs to be incorporated under the seats of the seesaw. This prevents crush injuries and cushions the child’s impact with the ground as they use the equipment.
Spring Centered Seesaws
Spring-centered seesaws are a great option for younger, preschool-aged children to use. This kind of seesaw allows a single child to use the equipment successfully, requiring less cooperation and communication skills. Even though the springs make the seesaw safer for younger children than simple, fulcrum seesaws, the spring itself comes with certain safety hazards. Make sure that your equipment follows all of the regulations set for other kinds of spring rockers. See our section on this kind of equipment for more specific information.