100 Watts : one hump or two?

My column this week deals with the issue brought forward by 2 parents regarding a piece of CSA approved playground equipment in town park they believe is dangerous, even life threatening.

You can read it here:

V11N40P04.pdf
Download this file

The argument from the 2 parents was outlined in an Era Banner article here:
http://www.yorkregion.com/news/article/1042965–playground-sparks-debate

They have approached council twice and intend to do so a third time.

Michael Suddard wrote on his blog about the matter here:
http://michaelsuddard.blogspot.com/2011/07/confederation-park-climber-kerfuffle.html

Micheal used to live in town and recently moved down to Richmond Hill, it is nice to see that he still is covering issues in Aurora and I agree completely with all of his points:

“Overall, I did not see anything posted on the Town’s website about the poll and I doubt anything was published in the Town of Aurora’s Noticeboard in the local newspaper asking for feedback.  Further, the town communications department late last year launched  Twitter and Facebook accounts, I’ve just done a search on both and not even a mention in the last 30 days of the words “Confederation Park.”

I checked myself, the only page on the town’s website pertaining to playground equipment is this one:  http://www.town.aurora.on.ca/aurora/index.aspx?ArticleID=3803&lang=en-CA

It only emphasizes the question as to WTF is wrong with the town’s communications department? 

Perhaps they are on vacation, or maybe they are asleep, either way it is unacceptable for a $50 million dollar corporation to not communicate in an appropriate time frame with its shareholders (residents) when they have several channels available to them.

Micheal points out what he believes the real issues are:

“Professional playground designer, Daniel Haddaway of Designed for Fun Inc., points out, in a letter to the editor on Yorkregion.com that this particular structure is for ages 5 to 12.  Ms. Harris’ daughter, as noted above, is four years old, under the age of five.

Thus the main issue as pointed out by the people above is the lack of supervision of the children involved which lead children to attempt to try equipment not manufactured for their age.  This resulted in injury that the parent is now trying to blame the town on instead of themselves. 

The town of Aurora and other municipalities install playground equipment for children of various ages.  Therefore, not all children should be using all the equipment.  Children should be shown by parents and supervisoring adults which equipment they should be using and what they should not be using because it is above their abilities.  Those supervising children on playgrounds should be closly watching children playing on playgrounds carefully.  If the child is younger than seven years old, supervisors should be withing three to five feet of their youngster for safety purposes.  Overall proper supervision and safety precautions are key at playgrounds because these prevent accidents.  But accidents can never be fully prevented on playgrounds as children can be unpredictable.

On July 15th Monika Warzecha posted an article on playgrounds in the Globe&Mail:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/globe-to/new-playground-designs-aim-to-be-game-changers/article2099276/

In the article she quotes Scott Belair, owner and founder of Reliable Reporting, a Toronto-based playground inspection company:

“I think there’s a movement to put challenge back into play spaces, And there’s a challenge for the standards to keep up with that demand because I think people have had enough of what I call the ‘rat-in-a-maze phenomenon’ – where kids are barriered from creativity.”

Beatrice van Dijk, a chair of a local playground committee is also quoted:

“There was a lot of worry that safety standards were a top-down imposition that didn’t reflect the way we live.”

As a child with 2 children I agree with Michael, Beatrics and Monika.

One of the things that most parents recognize, and early on, is that it doesn’t matter where the challenges are, on playgrounds or off it.  Kids will be kids, that much cannot be prevented, nor should it be.

Michael may have said it best:

“Scrapes, bruises and the odd broken bone happen and are part of growing up in childhood.  The sooner parents realize this, the better parents they will become.”

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