I Found a Better Swing Seat

Trying to find a good swing seat, that can be locally made, for the swing sets my colleagues and I install in developing countries has not been easy.  First, we tried bringing plastic seats from the USA with us.  Not practical.  Second, we tried locally made seats with metal frames and wooden inserts.  Concerned about safety.  Third, we tried wooden seats with A-shaped connectors on the end.  Possibly safer, but still.  But on a recent trip to Otavalo, Ecuador, I found a design that I like a lot better than all of the above. The swing seat is made with a 4″-wide heavy fabric strap with metal connectors on each end (think of the straps used in trailer tie-downs).  This design is used widely in the Otavalo area of northern Ecuador.

Swing Seat Made of Strap on a Swing Set near Otavalo, Ecuador

Swing Seat Made of Strap on a Swing Set near Otavalo, Ecuador

Once we had purchased the strap, it was easy to find a fabricator who could finish the swing seat.

A Strap Swing Seat that We Had Made in Otavalo, Ecuador

A Strap Swing Seat that We Had Made in Otavalo, Ecuador

The strap can be purchased for a couple of dollars per seat, so the only real cost is for what you have to pay the fabricator.  The seat has no hard edges (like the plastic seats you see in the USA), so it is much less likely to cause a minor accident. I brought home one of the “new” swing seats, and hope to use the design for some of the installations that we make in the Navajo Nation.

The Dimensions on the Swing Seat that I Brought Back from Otavalo, Ecuador

The Dimensions on the Swing Seat that I Brought Back from Otavalo, Ecuador

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3 Responses to I Found a Better Swing Seat

  1. fitlyframed says:

    Great idea. How did you decide on swings as a project? My wife is an Occupational Therapist with clinical appreciation for such interventions. For places where such fabric straps may be a challenge to find, might pieces of used tires work as well?

    • rogerdhansen says:

      Hi Fitly, Swing are relatively easy to construct/install and the kids love them. A few years ago, we installed one at an orphanage/school in Uganda. The kids loved it and it was used constantly. So we have just kept building them. We have installed over 40 swing sets on 4 continents. It’s been great fun. (We just installed 3 in western South America.)

      We have used old tires. I should have mentioned it in my post. But most of the tires are radial these days, and I worry about the wire. Thanx for your comments.

  2. Pingback: Sunday in Outer Blogness: Conferences Edition! » Main Street Plaza

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