One of my favorite things to do at the park as a child was swing on the tire swing. There was something about the shape of the tire and the way it swung that appealed to me. Our backyard was not big enough for a tire swing, but I always enjoyed tire swings at my friends’ houses. Recently, the Green Guide provided safety information about tire swings. I have always wondered about the safety of recycled tires in children’s swings and playground surfaces.
80% of tires are now recycled (not as tire swings!), compared to only 17% in 1990. At extremely high temperatures, tires off gas toxic benzene and toluene; however, older tires are not likely to off gas at cooler temperatures. Tires can also be breeding grounds for mosquitoes if water pools in them. The Green Guide offers the following tips for recycled tire swing safety:
*Light truck tires work well, but bigger, heavy truck tires used on semis can cause harm. Avoid steel-belted radials, which can pose cutting hazards.
*Drill drainage holes in the bottom of the tire.
*Use a rot-proof nylon rope to hang the tire from a sturdy limb on a hardwood tree such as oak or ash rather than a softer-limbed evergreen. Or, in a playground, check that the tire swing is hung from chains securely bolted to an overhead support with no obstacles within swinging distance.
*Pad the ground beneath the swing with wood chips, bark or recycled-tire rubber tiles (see below).
*For elaborate and amusing handcrafted tire swings in a variety of shapes including airplanes and kangaroos, see Abundant Earth .
*To ensure safety, inspect swing sets regularly and always supervise children on playground equipment.
We previously featured a recycled horse tire swing from Magic Cabin, although you don’t need to buy an expensive tire swing to provide your child with outdoor fun. If you feel adventurous, Dave’s Garden offers a pattern to make your own recycled pony tire swing from a recycled tire.