Recreational Swing Aid

Designers:  Mike Holliday, Eric Lai, Mike Scott
Supervising Professor: Dr. Larry N. Bohs

The client, a 7-year old boy with TAR syndrome, had difficulty participating with his peers and siblings in many of his favorite recreational activities including the use of a playground swing.  He lacks radius bones and therefore has short arms and weak hands, which limit his reach and strength.  The goal of this project was to create a device to allow the client to swing independently and reach greater heights than before. A swing aid was designed with front and back safety pads, a durable nylon safety strap, easy-grip handles attached to the swing chain, and a clip used by the client to secure or remove the front safety pad.  The device has allowed the client to swing independently and much higher than before.

How this project helped
The client has quickly become comfortable with the Recreational Swing Aid, and now can go “super high” without parental assistance.  The swing aid will provide him with greater independence and confidence at home and school by allowing him to participate with his peers in this common recreational activity.  The client’s mother commented, “[The] swing has enabled him to enjoy going outside again with the rest of the family.  It is great to see him wanting to do things most ‘normal’ kids do, and enjoying the fun of childhood.”

The primary components of the Recreational Swing Aid (Figure 1) were constructed from a child’s water life vest.  After removing the two arm flaps, the life vest was cut horizontally, forming the back safety pad from the lower two-thirds of the vest and the front safety pad from the remaining piece.  1” nylon straps were attached to the clips of the back pad with brass grommets.

Two metal clips connected a 2” nylon safety strap above the back safety pad. To prevent the strap from sliding between the client’s back and the back pad, the strap was placed through a nylon loop extending from the top of the back pad.  The remaining slack of the 2” nylon loop was sewn vertically into the back pad and secured under the swing seat by a large brass grommet.  This prevented the client from sliding off the swing in the open area between the back pad and the seat.

On each swing chain, a 1” nylon strap extended through a plastic fastener and looped through a rubber bicycle grip.  This allowed the client to easily and securely lean forward and backward in the natural swinging motion.

Two ¾” nylon straps were sewn into the front pad and fixed to the left swing chain at two separate plastic fasteners.  At the opposite side of the front pad, these straps were sewn together and ended at one piece of a clip, which is used by the client to securely attach the front pad between the swing chains.  A plastic fastener rigidly connected the alternate end of this clip to the swing chain so that the client could use both hands to direct the alternate free end of the clip into the locked position.  Figure 2 shows the client using the device.

The cost of parts for the recreational swing aid was $75, not including the original swing seat and chains.

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