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 ...
ROTFL! I never thought about it that way before but you nailed it!
Societal Values and Policies May Curtail Preschool Childrens Physical Activity in Child Care Centers
How sad. Not a single slide that is suitable for use as a downhill ramp for launching a shopping carriage packed with four kids.
My kids were asked to bring helmets to a school rollerskating event at a local roller rink. We don’t even own helmets for biking - I was certainly not going to go out and buy some for rollerskating. What in the world??
I have learning scars from my youth and from what I’m seeing in the world around me, more kids need learning scars.
I used to love going to playgrounds back when I was a small kid during the 80s. That was back when playgrounds were still ‘how they used to be’. It seems something happened during the 90s. I could say that about a lot of things actually.
We were often told while going outside to play after lunch to “be home by supper”, without having any supervision or a tracking device strapped to our wrists. I feel like mine was the last generation that was still allowed to be a real ‘kid’ growing up, without all of the nanny state/PC bullshit. We try to give our kids as much of a free enjoyable childhood as we had, but the world is just too damn crazy and dangerous now, even in ‘good’ neighborhoods.
In my youth I would visit a playground in my parent’s hometown. The playground had the old equipment apparently until sometime in the last two years. I took my daughter there this past summer hoping to have her try just a little bit of it (though she’s too young for most of it). It is all gone now - I was disappointed to see it had all been replaced with the ‘new’ stuff.
I felt like Charlton Heston’s character in the final scene of Planet of the Apes.
I grew up in a small town with a park right at the center. Everybody knew which kid belonged to which house. Dogs ran loose with us and even the occasional horse. We played real baseball in the park. The playground equipment was durable metal. We had to head home when the streetlights started coming on.
We had to make are own rides when I was a kid. If you took the seat front wheel and handle bars off and flipped the trike over and put them back on so the curve was down instead of up you got something much like a big wheel.
We used to play tag on it....only one way (the entrance) to escape...without touching the ground, and you had to jump it.
We did flips, ran across those monkey bars, jumped the “impossible”...just not to be tagged.
If we fell, we fell. We said ouch, laughed at whomever fell and continued on.
“Everybody knew which kid belonged to which house”.
I don’t know when you were a kid, but when I was little... everyone knew where you lived and had your parents phone number. Pick a flower from the neighbor’s yard and your Mom knew about it before you got home. For years, I believed that she was a true psychic. How could she know?!! LOL!
We used to have one of these models in the city park all full of sharp metal, and fun.
Hanover Michigan is where I growed up.
Its still a small town but a big one compared to where I live now.
Everybody knew which kid belonged to which house.
Not only would you get in trouble from the neighbor, but you knew what was waiting for you at home as well!
I’m convinced that the 1980s were the last traditional decade for kids. The veteran teachers and school administrators who controlled the schools in the eighties learned their craft in the fifties and sixties. They were fine with us playing tag and dodgeball and having “challenging” playground equipment and jungle gyms to play on at recess.
That has to be the wimpiest slide I have ever seen. That whole playground reminds me of the old board game “Mousetrap.”
A friend of mine suffered a compound fracture falling off a jungle gym when I was in fourth grade. He fell about eight feet onto asphalt.
It taught everyone in my class the danger of gravity and after we got over the cool sight of the bone sticking out of his arm, we were far more careful when climbing up high.
Oh, his arm still works fine. ...and he has a cool scar.
Boys, especially, need to do dangerous things and learn real life lessons. I’ll never forget crashing my bike while riding down a steep hill with no helmet or pads. The pain was instructive.
If you never get hurt, you never learn from your mistakes.
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
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!