Treehouse Safety for Kids

Treehouse building has exploded here in America. Treehouses usually top most kids’ wish lists, although few ever have their own. We are writing this to hopefully avoid some common safety hazards that are often part of do-it-yourself treehouses. Without any further ado, here are 5 safe treehouse building practices to keep in mind:

1. Keep the Height Reasonable

Octagonal Treehouse Platform
Octagonal Treehouse Platform

Octagonal Treehouse Platform[/caption] Somewhere around 6-12 feet is reasonable and what we see most often. If you are more protective with your kids, then keep the treehouse on the lower end of the range. 6 feet does not seem high, but when a 5 or 6-foot person stands on a platform that high, their head is now 12’ off the ground so the illusion of height can be achieved this way. Parents will also rest a bit easier knowing that the kids are at a safe/manageable height.

2. Rope Ladders and Climbing Ropes

In our experience, while there are quintessential treehouse accessories, they are where most of the falls occur on a project. If you must have a rope ladder, please anchor the bottom, make the ascent less than 10 feet (preferably 6'-8'), and put a thick pile of wood chips or other soft mulch surface below. 9 inches is what is commonly listed on websites, and that would be okay right under a high fall area, but more than 4 inches of mulch can overheat tree roots, so only do it in a limited area and never right against the trunk of the tree.

3. Build Railings to Code

In most places, no part of the railing should have any holes equal to or greater than 4 inches. The top rail should be 36″ high, and if the treehouse is very high, you may consider following residential code for balconies at 42″. Treehouse netting is commonly used in place of spindles to keep the kids safe but allow a clear view.

Adirondack Treehouse  Adirondack Treehouse

 4. Attach the Treehouse Properly to the Trees

TAB Insert
Treehouse Attachment Bolt (TAB) Installation

Treehouse Attachment Bolt (TAB) Installation[/caption] While treehouses don’t usually fall unexpectedly, these accidents can cause great injury or even death if occupied when they fall. The tree attachment method is a critical aspect the safety of the overall structure and must be done in a way that is more than strong enough, as well as a way that allows the trees to remain healthy. If you are not sure where to begin the treehouse design process, email us here and we will point you in the right direction.

5. Have the Structure Reviewed for Safety by a Carpenter, Arborist, or Both!

If you need help, please get it! While this is kind of a plug for our safety & treehouse consulting services, if you are not in our area, you can always find a good local arborist and carpenter.  Have them review either your plans, your completed treehouse, or both, looking for anything that these professionals would consider not safe. Yes, there may be a lot more to keep in mind regarding treehouse safety, but this is a start. Nothing is more important with tree houses than keeping kids of all ages safe while enjoying them!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.