Councilmember Bagshaw left office on December 31, 2019. This website is for archival purposes only and is no longer updated.

“Yellow Swings” and Parks for All

At the core of Seattle Parks & Recreation’s mission statement is a vow to provide all citizens with safe and welcoming opportunities to play, learn, and build community. We accomplish these objectives in many ways, whether it’s through a partnership with an organization like the Children’s Playgarden, which provides children of all abilities with a dedicated outdoor recreation space at Coleman Playfield, or via something as simple but impactful as a “yellow swing.”

Known more commonly as “adaptive” or “universally accessible” swings, yellow swings come in various colors. Though design varies, the features remain consistent with a deep seat, a harness or safety straps, and support for a child’s back and head. They’re designed for children with little or no muscle control, and they become a key playable element for kids with developmental delays. Similar swings are used at area clinics for physical therapy; when the yellow swings are sited in parks, all the kids in a family can play together.

In the summer of 2008, yellow swings could only be found in twenty Seattle play areas. Just over two years later, installation is almost complete in sixty-five playgrounds. Another ten swings have been ordered for parks in Loyal Heights, Othello, Salmon Bay, and Laurelhurst, and Seattle Parks & Recreation has identified thirteen additional locations with installation potential. These sites just need a sponsor to help make it a reality. You can be a sponsor by contacting the Seattle Parks Foundation.

Los Angeles’ Department of Recreation and Parks is setting a trend that we can aspire to match. They opened up a 10,800 square foot universally accessible playground (UAP) at Shadow Ranch this past October and the new play area is completely wheel-chair accessible and features slides, swings, ramps, shade elements, and interactive sensory elements. It’s the sixteenth UAP that Los Angeles has dedicated since 1998, and they plan to open six more over by the end of 2011.  

Parks for All continues to be our goal, and we are making strides one swing at a time. If you can help us reach the goal of putting an adaptive swing in every Seattle playground, please contact my office directly or contact the Parks Foundation at 206-332-9900 or

© 1995-2018