Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Playground Risks, Monkey Bars?

In my opinion, it's important for parents to take responsibility for their children, who are brave little adventurers.

The “Playground equipment sparks debate,” an article published in The Banner on July 14, 2011 definitely sparked debate everywhere. “A piece of playground equipment in Confederation Park is under the microscope as residents are divided on weather to have it removed or leave it in place.”, page 1.

Ada Johnson Park

I decided to chime in on this debate because I’m always at the playgrounds in Aurora with my 3-year-old son. We’re regulars there!

My thoughts…

Playground equipment is not just for one age group – it’s made for a variety of ages. As a parent, it’s up to me to understand my child’s abilities and let them have fun on the monkey bars, double hump camel climber, and other equipment. Would I let my three-year-old or four-year-old climb on these? Definitely not – my little one is more of a talker than a climber right now.

Ada Johnson Park

The monkey bars, double hump camel climber, and other equipment I’ve seen are definitely meant for kids who are 10 years old or older. At that age, kids are more skilled and bigger in size, so it would be harder for them to fall through. Plus, they wouldn’t have as far to fall.

I am a very protective parent and I don’t see anything wrong with that. If there’s something my child wants to climb on and I don’t think it’s safe, I either help him or tell him he can’t use it.

Playgrounds offer more than just fun – they provide valuable learning experiences for our children. When kids fall, they learn about pain and danger. By setting boundaries and telling them what they can and cannot climb, we teach them about discipline. And as they navigate the playground rules while climbing slides, they learn important lessons about following guidelines and respecting others.

Kids are pretty fearless and spontaneous, and sometimes us adults can be too. But as a parent, it’s important to keep an eye out for potential dangers. If I can’t handle climbing on playground equipment like monkey bars or a double hump camel climber, then it’s probably not safe for my child either. I always keep a close watch on my child, especially if they like trying new things. It’s all about making sure they stay safe and learn from their experiences.

My child fell backwards from the top of the slide and landed on the stairs. There wasn’t much space for him to sit, so he lost his balance and fell. Lesson learned! Next time we will be implementing some checkpoints.

My child nearly got burned on the metal slide at the playground in Aurora. I made the mistake of taking him there during lunchtime when the sun was scorching hot. I didn’t realize how hot the slide was until it was too late. It was made of metal, not plastic, and was so hot you could probably fry an egg on it. Needless to say, we won’t be going back to that playground. Actually, now that I think about it, I would recommend replacing this playground altogether.

Ada Johnson Park

In my opinion, it’s important for parents to take responsibility for their children, who are brave little adventurers.

On the other hand, I don’t understand what the subtitle on page one of The Banner under “Playground equipment sparks debate” reading “Initiative promotes carpooling, public transit use” has to do with the whole article. Is it a typo?


Michael said: July 19, 2011 at 11:37

Hi Anna! Confederation Park was my park growing up as a kid. I never really had a problem with the park itself except for maybe the odd scraped knee or scratch that any normal kid would be proud to show their father as a war wound (side note: how come Mom’s never seem to like the minor cuts and bruises that inevitably happen as kids?).

As for the current double hump camel climber. I’m currently sitting on the fence on this one. I have seen this piece of equipment walking through the park but never saw any kids on it. I do take into the account of the concerns of the two parents that have come forward twice to council. I also have taken into account Councillor Evelyn Buck’s and your concerns about this equipment piece needing supervision. I also have heard Director of Parks and Recreation Alan Downey noting at the council meeting that this piece of equipment meets CSA standards. So I’m not sure which way to go. I hope the staff report with options that comes back will help.

Perhaps the inclusion of the manufacturer’s recommended age specification of the 6-12 years (or whatever it is) could be better known to users of the park on a sign or something at this time and into the future if the piece of equipment remains. But again, hopefully the experts at the parks department (Al Downey, Jim Tree and company) will come up with some ideas.

Again, there are lots of opinions out there, but I sit on the fence as to how to solve the problem. Hopefully the staff report will allow council and the public to figure this one out.

Anna Lozyk Romeo said: July 20, 2011 at 02:04

Michael, why did you leave Aurora? There are so many issues to deal with here, lol. I think it is fair for you to sit on the fence with this one. I am leaning towards keeping the equipment, and I was also thinking about the sign. I have seen signs in other playgrounds in Aurora. Some have two sets of playing stations, one for toddlers up to age 6, and then the next for 6-12 year old. I think this is actually a better alternative. Otherwise, other parents may jump on the same wagon, and next thing we know, we will be removing everything that ‘looks’ dangerous from the playgrounds.

This double hump camel climber is definitely not for 4, 5, or 6 year old children, or any other child who is not capable of climbing. And definitely 4, 5, and 6 year old children should never go to the playground by themselves.

Michael said: July 20, 2011 at 09:08

I moved from Aurora to be a little closer to work for my wife and myself. Richmond Hill was perfect for both of us to reduce our commute times. Still visit Aurora a couple a times a month and keep track of the shenanigans going on at council. Aurora will always be a home for me in one way or another.

Comedy Plus said: July 22, 2011 at 09:09

You get it…you’re the parent and you know what’s best for your child. Kid parks are for all ages and you know that. You are using common sense and that’s something that is rapidly disappearing. Good for you. Have a terrific day.

Will said: July 26, 2011 at 00:25

All you say is correct, Anna. My kids were fearless too and I was not that protective. But one of the things I did do was as you say, determine if the child was ready for each individual piece of equipment and not let them get in too far over their heads. One of our frequent playgrounds had a great round, metal, climbing structure that they loved. The playground took it out a couple of years ago because of the liability.

Anna Lozyk Romeo said: July 26, 2011 at 13:00

Michael, I know what you mean. Thanks for sharing.

Anna Lozyk Romeo said: July 26, 2011 at 13:02

Thanks Sandy for agreeing, and welcome to my town.

Anna Lozyk Romeo said: July 26, 2011 at 13:04

Hi Will, welcome to my town also. Some times towns will do that just to get rid of the headache just in case. Looks like we are on the border.


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