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 ...
Down metal sliding boards...sitting on a piece of wax paper.
The good old days...
I grew up in a small neighborhood. Much the same situation everyone knew everyone else’s kids. Whoever’s house you were playing in front of that mother had authority over you. We all ran in a pack. Everyone had a bike and a dog. We didn’t have helmets and the dogs didn’t have leashes. When it was dinnertime all the mothers told the kids that weren’t their’s to go home. We ran the whole neighborhood, the woods and the large creek. We played baseball, football, homemade skateboards out of skates and wood. If you got hurt you ran home bleeding and your mother patched you up. kids got hurt and a few broken bones from time to time but nobody died. I feel sorry for kids nowadays. They have no concept of how great childhood used to be.
Topping that, we lived somewhere where there were frequently winds out of the West at up to 80 MPH. Lived on a straightaway East / West street. Get 2 kids on homemade skateboards with a blanket on that street in a high wind and lots of fun ensued.
The problem? No forward visibility. Did it anyway a thousand times.
>> Turning children into gerbils
Progressives *like* ‘em that way.
Ages 13-16 we played football in front of the school. There were walkways across the lawn then. Our only concession to safety was no, ahem, neck tackling on the concrete allowed.
Perhaps this explains Occupy Wall Street crowds, at least the younger ones. No one ever told them no until hiring managers said it. Result: “the world isn’t like this” and denial, or “the world is bad so overthrow it” anger or “I tried and didn’t get it so go home and give up” boomerang young adult in the basement.
My son has a huge yard and my grandkids had a little trampoline and a big trampoline,no safety net, a merry-go-round that could turn so fast that you could (and often did) get thrown off. There was a swing set and a seesaw. All kids loved to come home with my grandkids.
Now that they are older, they have bonfires and volleyball games and swim in the pond. They ride 4-wheelers and motorcycles and hunt rabbits at night.
They are too busy for video games and television and they are both very slim even though they eat like horses.
Yeah, I remember when the touchy feely stuff started to creep in. Every now and then they’d pull us from dodge ball and have us do cooperative noncompetitive games. It’s funny because I can look back now and see what they were up to. Like there was there was a whole category of games involving a parachute. We’d all be holding onto the parachute and they’d throw some balls in the middle of it and we’d all raise our arms and loft the balls into the air. There were no winners or losers to this so no one got their feelings hurt, but our real enthusiasm was for dodgeball and that sort of thing. The people who were trying to sneak that stuff in in the 80s were in control by the 90s.
From a playground in Tallinn, Estonia, where my kids were lucky enough to spend some of their playground years.
The 20 foot rope thing, which never would have passed muster with US lawyers, was part of the new safe equipment. The old Soviet-era stuff was truly menacing - usually featuring something very heavy, steel and moving.
There was an old lady (around 70) in the church. When she found out I had horses, she showed me a scar on her arm that was from shoulder to elbow.
When she was 12, she was riding a horse that reared and fell on top of her. She broke a half dozen ribs and tore her arm from shoulder to elbow. After the horse rolled off her, her Dad came over, looked at her, and said, “I told you to lean forward if a horse rears. You pulled him over on top of you. Go inside and get cleaned up!”
It was her Mom who took her to the doctor. THAT was stoic!
I learned that it is possible to bounce somebody off a teeter-totter if you get a firm grip, your feet on the ground and jerk the plank at the bottom of the downstroke.
Whatever else could be said about the situation, she doubtless never forgot again to lean forward when her steed reared! Whoo boy. Glad she suffered no lasting harm beyond the cosmetic.
NYC's street steps work well.
And where the hell on that safe playground can ya have a real old fashion dirt-clod fight?
Oh man, that’s just awesome.
Oh, and did they have to shoot the horse? :-)
Years ago parents and community folks at our local school got together and put up a “Leathers” playground. It was fantatic! Heavy rope/telephone poles, etc. Then a kid got a splinter in his belly, and after enough whining from his yuppy mother and friends, they now have all this plastic CRAP. So glad my kids got to enjoy the old Leather’s playground.
Across the street from our house when my boys were small was an unoccupied house with a driveway which went down a hill and around the back into the back yard. Merna Hill (don’t ask). I would let my kids go over there and ride their big wheels down that hill. One day they all came running because my youngest (3) was told by the older boys to stand at the bottom of the hill and throw his small big wheel at the other boys as the came around the corner. He knocked out the teeth of a neighbor boy. His parents were very nice about it. I made sure our insurance paid for this kid to have all the dental reconstruction he needed until they could do implants. He loved it. Used to pop his teeth out to show off. My youngest always felt bad about it though.
How lame-@$$, can't even slip some rubber hose, put acorn nuts, or daub some tool handle dope on it?
She said she later rode a lot of miles on that horse. Tough gal!