White House Swing Set Draws Attention to Child Safety

Included in a measure signed into law in August 2008 is a provision that calls for the creation of a national database where people could report problems with children's products. The law calls for the database to go public within two years of the time the money is doled out for the project. That funding is included in the omnibus bill being considered on Capitol Hill.

Consumer advocates recommended a few tips for parents buying swing sets for their children.

Talk to neighbors and friends. Get feedback from anyone who may have a similar model. If the product is sold online, read customer comments and reviews, keeping an eye out for any trends. Make sure materials are sturdy. Check for openings that can entrap kids.

"Obviously, it's a huge purchase for families and it is hard to know what is safe," Cowles said.

Cushion the surface under and around the playground. "Since 81 percent of all injuries on home equipment are due to falls, one of the most critical factors is the adequacy of the surfacing of the playground," said Rachel Weintraub, director of product safety and senior counsel for the advocacy group Consumer Federation of America.

That means ensuring there's something soft like sand, shredded rubber tires or mulch -- and enough of it -- under and around the swing set to cushion potential falls.

That's something the Obama family has yet to do. Foster said the family is shopping now for surfacing.

"The helicopter takes off and lands all the time in the front yard," Foster said. "We have to find the right surfacing that won't blow away.

"I know the swing set is designed safe and I'm happy with that, but as far as what they're going to put underneath, they're still looking at choices there," he said.

Finally, consumer experts remind parents that supervision is required, even for older children like Malia and Sasha Obama.

"I don't think that's going to be a problem at the White House, though," Cowles said.

Read more tips on home playground equipment from the Consumer Federation of America.

Learn more from the Consumer Product Safety Commission's handbook on home playground safety.

Follow ABC News producer Brian Hartman on Twitter.

ABC News' Sunlen Miller and Ann Compton contributed to this story.

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