My wife and I adopted our (nearly) 5 year old son from the Clark County foster care system here in Las Vegas. Once I figure out how I want to write publicly about our experience as foster and now adoptive parents (i.e. what to make public and what to keep private), I'll be writing more about it. For now, what needs to be known for this article is that my son sustained prenatal trauma.
Among the many issues we face, one issue is that he is hyperactive and it is very difficult for him to calm down or "self soothe". Once our son gets in an excited state, he continues to amp up to the point where he gets wildly out of control.
One of the diagnosis' we received for him was that he has a sensory processing order. So we do a lot of sensory activities.
So I bought one. I purchased mine for about $70.
When the product arrived I was impressed yet again with the product packaging. It had a very nice box.
But when I pulled out the swing, my heart dropped. I got an adrenaline rush of internal shame when I realized I had been swindled by good marketing.
The swing is simply a piece of very stretchy fabric made with "lycra" (aka Spandex). And that is all it is. Just a stretchy piece of fabric with a rope around it. In very nice packaging.
With my heart racing and blood pumping I stormed over to my computer and I did a search on the cost of lycra fabric.
What I found ranged from $5/yard to $15/yard.
The swing measures about 2 yards (at a width of 36 inches). So the cost would be anywhere from $10 to $30. I started looking at minimum orders and shipping costs and thought maybe by the time I tried to order the stuff myself, I'd be paying $40-$50, so maybe I wasn't getting totally stuck.
But then I searched on Amazon and found a vendor (Payless Fabric) willing to sell 4-way stretch Polyester Lycra/Spandex for just under $8/yard with free shipping and no minimum length (specifically here's one inblack). So I could have ordered two yards for just $16.
So there you have it. $16 worth of Spandex with maybe $2 of rope. And I paid $70 for that. Packaging and marketing at its finest!
I was sick because I have a visceral reaction to ridiculously overpaying for something... mostly because I get mad at myself that I didn't think of marketing and overcharging for that same thing first.
Regardless of my self loathing, I put my son in the swing and tested it out.
Our goal with the swing was to have it in his room such that he could get in the swing and get his sensory fix whenever he needed to; especially if he was having a rage fit.
Unfortunately, once I put him in the swing, I immediately realized that it wouldn't be something he could easily and safely do on his own.
That's because the fabric is SOOOO stretchy. For him to be able to swing without hitting the mat once he's in it, the swing has to start out so high that its very difficult to get in it on his own.
Below is a picture of the swing unstretched.
This is him trying to get into the swing.
Here's an even funnier one that shows how stretchy the fabric is, because you can see his face impression in it.
Finally he was able to get in it. Notice how the swing has stretched nearly to the floor.
Now this did turn out to be a good "heavy work" activity for him. It's a workout for him to just get in it. But it's not something I would allow him to do unsupervised. When he tries to get out of it, or if he falls out while trying to get in, the swing shoots upwards like a rubber band from being stretched. So it's not extremely safe.
So I started looking around for a better swing. In ended up searching for hammock swings and found a Portable Cotton Rope Outdoor Swing Fabric Camping Hanging Hammock Canvas Bed Strong Hammock + Huge Metal Hooks + Strap + Carry Bag (78.74" x 59.05", red) for just $15 with free shipping. Now that's a reasonable price!
I hooked that one up and it's much better for my son to get into because it only stretches a little. My son can get in and out of it on his own. And he doesn't seem to notice a difference in the "hug" factor (therapy swings are usually sold to kids with Autism because some like the "hugging" feeling it gives them). He still feels hugged and cuddled by the cotton swing.
This is the cotton swing with him just starting to get into it. He's easily able to sit into it.
This is the cotton swing with him swinging in it. It doesn't stretch much at all.
Finally, you may notice that I've got quite the metal stand to hold the swing. I can't tell you where I bought it, because I didn't. I started looking into "hammock chair swings" and they were all quite expensive. Here are the ones I found:
If I had to go with one of the above, I probably would have tried the $70 if I was concerned about price (which you know I would be after reading this article). But I'd be inclined to think the Steel Swing Stand for $299 might be the most stable if I was to convince myself it was worth it because this is very close to a "medical expense".
Luckily for me, my neighbor is a retired welder. And a very nice guy to boot!
He put this stand together for me for about $40 in metal tubes. He's such a nice guy that he wouldn't take any money from me for his time.
He also taught me how to weld and now I know that welding isn't extremely difficult.
So maybe I'll get into the over charging $300 for $40 worth of metal game! Contact me if you want to buy one!