March 6, 2012

In full swing

Image: Belt seat swings, Hester Street Playground, Manhattan
The recent recall of Landscape Structures "Slalom Glider" reminded us that we had not written about playgrounds or play spaces since last October. Also, we only have two essays in the "At play" series. In this post we consider the older belt seat swing and the newer flat seat swing .

Image: Flat seat swings, Washington Square Park, Manhattan
The belt seat swing is often listed as the "standard belt seat" in play equipment catalogues. It is made of molded rubber; thick yet flexible and adjusts to the anatomy of the swinger. On the other hand, the flat seat swing can be made of vulcanized rubber or more commonly rigid high-density polyethylene (aka HDPE). HDPE is light weight but it does not conform to the swinger's "seat" nor does it "stick" to certain types of fabric. Both factors often lead to slippage for children who are transitioning from the infant/toddle bucket swing which are typically constructed of molded rubber. The tire swing seems easier to master than the flat seat swing.

Image: Flat seat swings and infant/toddler bucket swings, First Park, Manhattan
Are the swing sets in your favorite playground outfitted with belt seats or flat seats?

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