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A swing is a hanging seat, usually found at playgrounds for children, a circus for acrobats, or on a porch for relaxing. The seat of a swing may be suspended from chains or ropes. Once a swing is in motion it continues to oscillate like a pendulum until external interference or drag brings it to a halt. Swing sets are very popular with children.
On playgrounds, several swings are often suspended from the same metal or wooden frame, known as a swing set, allowing more than one child to play at a time. Such swings come in a variety of sizes and shapes. For infants and toddlers, swings with leg holes support the child in an upright position while a parent or sibling pushes the child to get a swinging motion. Some swing sets include play items other than swings, such as a rope ladder or sliding pole.
For older children, swings are sometimes made of a flexible canvas seat, of rubberized ventilated tire tread, of plastic, or of wood. A common backyard sight in modern America is a wooden plank suspended on both sides by ropes from a tree branch. Older children can go much higher, sometimes over 15 feet (5 m) above the ground. In the United States, some adults go to the extreme and compete in the NSA, "National Swing Association", where competitors reach heights over 20 feet, while leaping at the peak of their swing.
Types of swings
Tire swings are a form of swing made from a whole tire. These are often simply a new or used tire hanging from a tree on a rope. On commercially developed playground swingsets, oversized new tires are often reinforced with a circular metal bar to improve safety and are hung on chains from metal or wooden beams. They may hang vertically or hang flat, suspended from three or more points on one side. These flat type of swings can hold three or more children. Pumping is achieved by using one or two of the three chains attached to the swing, and two (or more) children can pump in turn. Tire swings can also be used in spinners, where the occupants use their feet to propel the tire.
Rope swings are swings created by tying one end of a length of rope to a tree branch, bridge, or other elevated structure. A knot or loop is usually put on the other end to prevent fraying and help the swinger stay on. Rope swings are often situated so that those swinging on them can let go and land in water deep enough to cushion the fall and to be swum around in.
The incorporation of a short board such as a skateboard in which the rider stands is called swing boarding. It is made safer by the use of an attached board and a harness for the rider.
Toddler swings are swings with a bucket shape with holes for the child's legs, or a half-bucket shape and a safety belt, that is intended to reduce the likelihood of a very young child from falling out.
Porch swings are a type of swinging bench primarily intended for adults. Porch swings are permanently mounted to the roof of a porch. The seat typically is large enough to seat about three people. Porch swings are an alternative to using rocking chairs or gliders outdoors.
Canopy swings are similar to porch swings, but they are hung on a separate frame and are usually portable. They derive their name from the canopy installed for sun protection.
Kiiking is a sport played in Estonia whereby players attempt to rotate 360 degrees around the spindle on a long swing made of seat and rigid steel bars in place in ropes or chains.
Hammock swings are portable bed swings made of lightweight material, often attached to a couple of trees in the backyard or to a hammock stand.
Swings cause some injuries. The most common injury is due to a fall, either by unintentionally letting go of the ropes or chains or by deliberately jumping out of the swing. Less commonly, the person using the swing will bump into or kick another person who is walking or playing too near the swing or, especially with improperly located home equipment, will bump into a fence, wall, or other fixed object. Swings are also associated with strangulation or hanging injuries, usually because the child was wearing a piece of clothing or other item became entangled in the swing.
Swings are the most common cause of injury related to playground equipment at private homes, but a much less common cause of injury in public or school playgrounds, where injuries from climbing equipment dominate. Injuries from swings primarily affect school-age children, but preschool-age children also have a significant risk on swingsets at home.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office was disparaged in 2002 for issuing a patent to a five-year-old boy who claimed to have invented swinging sideways as a new form of entertainment. His father, a patent lawyer who wanted to show his son how the patent system worked, had told the boy that he could file a patent application on anything that the boy invented. The patent was rescinded on reexamination.
- Tinsworth D, McDonald J. Special Study: Injuries and Deaths Associated with Children’s Playground Equipment. Washington (DC): U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission; 2001.
- US Patent 6368227: "Method of Swinging on a Swing". Filed November 7, 2000; granted April 9, 2002; canceled July 1, 2003.
- Hecht, Jeff (17 April 2002). "Boy takes swing at US patents". New Scientist. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
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