Skip to comments.New Playgrounds Are Safe—and That's Why Nobody Uses Them (More Nanny State Unintended Consequences)
Posted on 02/02/2012 7:15:24 PM PST by DogByte6RER
New Playgrounds Are Safeand That's Why Nobody Uses Them
The problem with safety guidelines is that they make most playgrounds so uninteresting as to contribute to reduced physical activity.
Playgrounds don't look like they used to. Steep metal slides and wooden towers have given way to slow, plastic slides and carefully penned-in climbing contraptions. And forget about seesaws -- they're a thing of the past.
When kids are bored by unimaginative (read: safe) playground equipment, they're less active as a result, and with childhood obesity at epidemic proportions, that's a danger, too.
An interesting new investigation looks into this phenomenon. Researchers visited 34 daycare locations in suburbs and cities, including Head Starts, Montessori schools, YMCAs, and facilities at universities, corporations, and churches. Workers and parents were questioned about what they thought the main barriers to children's activity were. Injury concerns, financial constraints, and a wish to put academics first were among the chief reasons cited by parents and daycare employees for not encouraging more active play.
According to the study, the new, safer equipment often became boring because children mastered it so quickly. To make it more challenging, kids tended to improvise, walking up the slide the wrong way, or using supports as a climbing apparatus. Sometimes younger children were drawn to the older kids' equipment, presumably because it presented a more interesting set of challenges.
Lead author Kristen Copeland, a researcher at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, commented that some participants said that overly strict safety standards made much of the climbing equipment uninteresting, thus reducing children's physical activity.
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
For a while there, one or both was constantly skinned or scabbed over constantly. (Grace was never my middle name).
That was pretty normal when I was a kid; most of us were "walking wounded" a lot of the time and managed to grow up anyway. Now we seem to want to enclose kids in bubbles or something so that they never get hurt or never get sick.
If we fell, we fell. We said ouch, laughed at whomever fell and continued on.
And if you got hurt, no one sued the school. We used to climb on the monkey bars and all the girls wore shorts under our dresses so our underwear wouldn’t show. It was a major accomplishment when we could go all the way across bar to bar with our hands.
Unfortunately, today’s children aren’t safe outside thanks to the perverts. My kids are watched even in our backyard and a big pit bull stands guard.
I used to. Run all over, even as a 5 year old. Not anymore.
Don't remember a soul who was ever (seriously) hurt.
Wow, you are absolutely correct! In fact, the local playground was used by kids all the time, made of wood, it was dangerous in old-respects, but after a tornado tore through the town, some funds came up and tore it out.
Now, no kids. Well, at first there was some curiosity, but now... I never see kids out there. You know where I see them, the old wooden teeter-totters out by the Lions shelter.
Oh my, you just bought me back in time. We actually learned to walk across them...at a very high speed, to get away from the chaser.
Yes, there were a few painful “incidents”, but you had to pretend like it didn’t hurt, lol.
We did not do this on school time (damn teachers). The school was behind a few of our properties so we’d go up there to play without any supervision.
In our woods, there was this narrow crooked hill called “Dead Mans Hill”. Rumor was, a dead man was found on it, lol.
In the winter, we used to dare each other to ski down this hill, on one ski, sled, whatever we had handy.
And guess what......WE ARE ALL ALIVE TO TALK ABOUT IT!!!
The things we did on high velocity wood and metal merry go rounds, it is amazing I didn’t witness multiple deaths.
When in the 6th grade I tried a cool stunt, riding a bicycle hands free, that I’d seen many a buddy do.
Unfortunately my personal sense of balance was not up to the task. Down I went and skinned a shoulder. Then came riding back home but without trying that again.
Mom was horrified at the sight and gave me an entire blueberry cobbler that she’d been baking for dinner. I didn’t refuse it LOL. Dad had been riding along with (that’s another story) and once he verified no broken bones, he was like, what’s the big deal.
Another time Dad and I were riding together and Dad came to a stop putting his foot down on what he thought was terra firma, but actually was a culvert. Flip, and Dad was upside down in the culvert. “DAD! ARE YOU OK!?!?” Dad just said something like get that damn bike off of him, and I kind of helped him get it out of the culvert. Not a peep out of him otherwise... a real stoic.
And the children don’t ride bicycles anymore. Won’t wear the helmets.
We had one of these babies at my elementary school playground many years ago. A solitary kid, looking for diversion could play on it, but it was pretty heavy and two kids could give it a better twirl.
The real action started when children began to collect on the playground before the school day started and all ages were playing together. A mass of kids would mount the apparatus and another bunch would do the pushing. as it neared maximum speed a few, brave, older boys climbed inward on the radial supports and we all learned a little something about physics.
That mother picked up speed that we hardly believed possible. There were casualties nearly every day. Younger kids, overcome with the spirit of adventure, attempted the ride and discovered their physical limitations. Older, bigger kids discovered that you couldn't relax just because you had successfully teased the beast many times in previous days.
The teachers must have appreciated it because we would march into class, hearts pumping and ready for any challenge. The school nurse, in her starched white dress, must have enjoyed the job security every day. And we kids have never forgotten the joy of real play, exhilarating and challenging, requiring teamwork and occasional humility.
That beloved playground also included an excellent pair of long see-saws, a very tall, metal slide, and the tallest swings we would ever use.
What memories! Laurel School, four classrooms and a lifetime of experience.
My kids love these. They climb on the roofs and the outsides. Lol!
Yep, skinned up knees. I remember skinned up knees. Me and pretty much every kid I knew had skinned up knees there for a while.
Kids aren’t the sheep that adults are. Give them Mooshelle-approved “healthy” lunches, and they refuse to eat them. Take away the old favorite playground equipment, and they will prefer to stay home and play the video games that are based on risky adventures.
Adults let the government nannies browbeat them into giving up their freedom by cloaking it in concern for health and safety. Kids are smarter than that.
Did you grow up in Cleveland?
Don’t forget kids would be on and under the middle of that merry go round as it spun around 100 mph and the ground or metal struts literally could take your head off.
I’m thinking all the spec effects in movies, like cars flipping over people’s heads, are a modern substitute for any given day at the old playground.
Bring back the MONKEY BARS