Play time is an essential part of being a child, and for groups of children on a playground, there is perhaps no more essential piece of equipment than a playground slide. There are curved, tunnel and wave slides. In complexity of configuration, they range from simple stepladder-like structures to virtual castles. With water parks continuing to gain popularity in recent years, a whole new venue has been opened up for slides of all shapes and sizes.
In fact, the market is so vast that entire published directories exist which are solely devoted to listing contact information for playground slide manufacturers. While this activity and device are thought of by many as somehow being intrinsically American, rest assured that children, playgrounds and playground slides exist worldwide.
So do playground slide manufacturers, which brings us to the first of several points of consideration for purchasing such a structure. There is a large number of manufacturers located in the US, as well as overseas. It is not our purpose here to recommend one source over another, but we would be remiss if we did not mention the cost of shipping. It is a very real cost in purchasing, and can be a surprise budget buster if not taken into consideration.
Other points worthy of research include construction materials and the age of the children who will use the slide. There will usually be two choices of materials: steel and fiberglass. Steel is probably more durable, but can get very HOT sitting in the sun and burn the backs of children’s bare legs. Municipalities have actually been sued over this issue, so conduct a site inspection and have metal slides installed in shaded areas. Users’ ages are important mainly because preschoolers have such short little legs. If the foot of the slide is too tall someone is going to land on their behind in the dirt, perhaps banging their head on the slide in the process. Manufacturers know this, and make allowances for it by offering different models for different age groups. The bottom line is, a little research now can go a long way toward ensuring that the only playground noises you will be hearing in the future will be happy ones.
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