Keeping Your Toddler Safe in an Outdoor Swing

Mom Kissing Toddler At The Playground
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It's important for parents to know about recalls, especially those that affect products they have purchased for their families. An example in recent years was the recall of a popular toddler swing manufactured by Little Tikes, which was recalled because of safety issues in 2017.

When the recall happened, many families realized that they had the swing hanging up in their backyards. Here's what parents should know about toddler swing safety, as well as information about the Little Tykes recall.

How to Keep Your Toddler Safe in a Swing

Product recalls are scary—especially when they could affect your kids. While you do want to stay alert to possible safety issues or recalls of products like toddler swings, it is possible to allow your child to enjoy these toys safely.

  • Check for loose connections. This includes any ropes or chains that attach a toddler swing to the play structure. Always ensure that there are no loose or frayed ropes or breaks in the chain. If you notice any, make sure that they are repaired or replaced.
  • Follow weight limits. Toddlers come in all shapes and sizes. Check the weight limit on the swing you intend to buy and stick to it.
    • If your little one is growing quickly, they might be ready to move to a swing the next size up, which will reduce the overall risk of a fall.
  • Enforce safe swinging rules. Don't let your kids lay on their stomachs on a swing, run and jump onto a swing, or jump off a swing.
  • Inspect your toddler's swing. Even if your swing isn't part of a recall, get in the habit of inspecting it for any cracks, especially if it is made out of plastic.
    • Leaving your swing outside during the winter months can make it more prone to cracking, which could lead to injury. If you can, store any outdoor play equipment (including swings) inside during the winter.
  • Place your swing thoughtfully. When you're choosing a spot in your yard for your child's swing, make sure that there is plenty of clearance in front of and behind it. You also want to make sure whatever is under the swing (and therefore, your child) is safe.
    • Outdoor walls, fences, and other structures in your yard should be at least six feet away from the swing (and its range).
    • The structure the swing is on, whether metal anchors, chains, or ropes, should be secure.
    • If you have more than one swing, make sure they are at least 2 feet apart. Don't put more than 2 swings on the same structure. If you are using a tire swing, stick to just 1.
  • Purchase a swing with a full bucket seat or safety harness. You might want to purchase a baby or toddler swing that includes a three-point harness or is a full bucket seat design. These seats can help prevent your child from leaning too far forward or backward, which puts them at risk for falling out of the seat.
    • Make sure that any buckles are properly fastened (listen for the click) before you start swinging.
    • If your child is wearing a coat, that can interfere with the buckles.
  • Try a variety of outdoor activities. Swings can be fun, but there are plenty of other ways to get your little ones outside. Many outdoor activities can be fun for the whole family. Bubble blowing, gardening, or just taking a walk around your neighborhood are all things you can do together.

Little Tykes Recall

On February 23, 2017, Little Tikes issued a recall for the 2-in-1 Snug 'N Secure Pink Swing.

If you have the swing, check the manufacturing date code stamp (located on the back of the seat with a molded inner arrow pointing to a number).

The swings that were included in the recall:

  • Are stamped with a “10,” “11,” “12,” or “13”
  • OR have a “9” stamped on the inner arrow combined with a number 43 or higher stamped on the outer arrow

The recall number (17-096) included swings that were manufactured between November 2009 and December 2013.

  • The recall affected about 540,000 total swings. It was issued because the plastic seat on the swing was cracking or breaking. When the swings fell, it caused kids to be injured.
  • 39 injuries were reported. Most were abrasions, bruises, cuts, and bumps to the head. Two of the reported injuries were a broken arm.

Little Tikes instructed consumers to stop using the product immediately. If your swing was included in the recall you can call the company or fill out a recall credit request toward the purchase of a new (non-recalled) swing replacement on the website.

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Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Little Tikes Recalls Toddler Swings Due to Fall Hazard. Updated February 23, 2017.

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Gilchrist, J. Playground Safety. Updated June 11, 2018.

Additional Reading
  • United States Product Consumer Safety Commission. Little Tikes recalls toddler swing due to fall hazard.