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Playground upgrades

By 26 October 2012 14

Territory and Municipal Services want you to know what they’ve been up to with their “play spaces” upgrades (we think they mean playgrounds):

“Canberra families now have access to more fun and contemporary play areas with upgrades to play spaces on Mueller Street in Yarralumla, Rosman Circuit in Gilmore, Gibbs and Crafer Places in Kambah, and the giant slide at Point Hut District Park in Gordon.

“The upgrades include new equipment such as swings, climbing frames and slides as well as new paving, art work, seating and landscaping. The final designs reflect community feedback about what local residents wanted to see in their play spaces. Working with residents and schools enabled the renewed play spaces to more closely meet their needs.”

Ms Hill said that work to install shade sails and structures across 13 existing play space sites across Canberra was also recently completed.

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14 Responses to Playground upgrades
#1
davo1019:57 am, 26 Oct 12

contemporary play areas

Unless they’re planning to give the kiddies TARDISES I can’t see how they could play in an area that was anything other than contemporary. Perhaps the spokes-thing meant to say modern or new?

#2
Watson12:49 pm, 26 Oct 12

“Playground safety”, ugh. I wonder how many injuries were sustained because of the equipment before they started making everything ultra-safe? I read a book a while back called “No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society” in which they proved that that soft rubber material they cover some playground surfaces with causes more injuries than any hard material – because it gives kids a false sense of security and it bounces. Also stuff like: irregular gaps between ladders and similar in playgrounds forces the kids to pay more attention and reduces the risk of them falling.

Anywho, most playgrounds are so utterly boring these days. They’re ok until the kids are about 6 but after that they’re only good for teenagers to go drink their cruisers at the top of the slide.

I don’t necessarily want to go back to the adrenaline rush of nearly getting your fingers cut off by playground equipment (fairly regular occurrence in my day), but stop trying to mitigate every possibility of a child ever injuring themselves in the playground.

#3
threepaws2:21 pm, 26 Oct 12

Watson said :

“Playground safety”, ugh. I wonder how many injuries were sustained because of the equipment before they started making everything ultra-safe? I read a book a while back called “No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society” in which they proved that that soft rubber material they cover some playground surfaces with causes more injuries than any hard material – because it gives kids a false sense of security and it bounces. Also stuff like: irregular gaps between ladders and similar in playgrounds forces the kids to pay more attention and reduces the risk of them falling.

Anywho, most playgrounds are so utterly boring these days. They’re ok until the kids are about 6 but after that they’re only good for teenagers to go drink their cruisers at the top of the slide.

I don’t necessarily want to go back to the adrenaline rush of nearly getting your fingers cut off by playground equipment (fairly regular occurrence in my day), but stop trying to mitigate every possibility of a child ever injuring themselves in the playground.

In another attempt at the Mother of the Year award, today at the park I watched my toddler run down a grassy hill, and knowing full well she was going to tumble I chose to capture the spectacular stack on my SLR instead of helping her stay on her feet. I mean, how else is she going to learn how to run down a hill?

Of course I would expect that playground equipment should be safe enough that Baby Threepaws isn’t going to have a finger ripped off or get her head trapped between some bars, but I also expect that the playground is somewhere that she will learn, through trial and error, about falling off stuff and suffering many bumps and bruises.

They have recently removed a section of the old school wooden equipment at my local park and I am extremely curious about what they will erect in it’s place. Something colourful and made of cotton wool I assume.

#4
Tetranitrate3:38 pm, 26 Oct 12

Watson said :

“Playground safety”, ugh. I wonder how many injuries were sustained because of the equipment before they started making everything ultra-safe? I read a book a while back called “No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society” in which they proved that that soft rubber material they cover some playground surfaces with causes more injuries than any hard material – because it gives kids a false sense of security and it bounces. Also stuff like: irregular gaps between ladders and similar in playgrounds forces the kids to pay more attention and reduces the risk of them falling.

Anywho, most playgrounds are so utterly boring these days. They’re ok until the kids are about 6 but after that they’re only good for teenagers to go drink their cruisers at the top of the slide.

I don’t necessarily want to go back to the adrenaline rush of nearly getting your fingers cut off by playground equipment (fairly regular occurrence in my day), but stop trying to mitigate every possibility of a child ever injuring themselves in the playground.

oh this 1000 times.
When I was growing up in the 90s I remember having so many awesome playgrounds. All the old wooden ones with the log frames you could climb on. The worst I ever got was splinters and grazes. The old wooden parks around Giralang were fun even into the early teenage years.
Weston Park in Yaralumla used to have all these separate playgrounds – there was a wooden ‘tree-house’ literally build around a pine tree with two or three levels, a big bridge like thing next to the lake, and this multi-colored concrete maze that was absolutely awesome for tips and hide & seek.

Speaking of which there used to be that awesome maze at acton peninsular – they got rid of the massive slippery slide in the middle fairly early but the maze lasted quite a while, until a girl died of a heart attack there (completely unrelated to the park) and they destroyed it.

I remember that suddenly all the roundabouts started disappearing from parks toward the end of the 90s, then one by one wooden parks were demolished and replaced with what I liked to refer to as ‘acme baby parks’, all the same and absolutely boring for anyone over 6.

#5
dtc5:07 pm, 26 Oct 12

As soon as playground safety (or anything related to child safety) is mentioned, people start assuming that their lack of injuries when younger means no one was ever injured and therefore its all BS. Or that broken bones are what everyone needs to learn.

I know economists love to argue that reducing risk increases risky behaviour (I have seen people try to argue we should abolish CTP because that way people will have a greater incentive to drive better and accidents will actually go down); but its rarely applicable to situations in which people can get injured. People – even children – have a natural aversion to pain. If they learn that doing something results in a medium amount of pain (current playgrounds) then they dont do it again. You dont need them to suffer a lot of pain (old playgrounds) to learn that lesson.

That said, our ACT playgrounds are not very interesting in comparison to playgrounds you see in other parts of Australia. Like was said, after 6 there isnt much to keep a kid interested.

The playground at Acton was pretty old and falling apart when they got rid of it. There is a good climbing frame there (and, yes, you can fall at least 10m, so its not entirely cotton wool) but the area is crying out for a really good playground (like Black Mountain, but better)

#6
miz6:12 pm, 26 Oct 12

“‘acme baby parks’, all the same and absolutely boring for anyone over 6.” And impossible to keep older kids occupied.
Bring back real adventure playgrounds. Saw a good one on 7Up (SBS) the other night.

#7
farnarkler6:47 pm, 26 Oct 12

I thought the health and safety gestapo had dismantled all the playgrounds around Canberra.

#8
Pork Hunt6:49 pm, 26 Oct 12

miz said :

“‘acme baby parks’, all the same and absolutely boring for anyone over 6.” And impossible to keep older kids occupied.
Bring back real adventure playgrounds. Saw a good one on 7Up (SBS) the other night.

Perhaps we can add some vibrancy to playgrounds after all. Wile E Coyote is a fan of Acme products (and probably used Ebay in its early form to get his products).

We could substitute a Coyote for a Dingo… Fun for all ages.

#9
Madam Cholet7:50 am, 27 Oct 12

I tell you what I hate about the acme play equipment….the static. I’ve had some whopper shocks from some of that equipment and maintain that if young master Cholet was in strife on anything bright and plastic I for one would not be running to his aide.

The stuff at kambah adventure park is probably one of the best I’ve seen….flying foxes, giant slides, giant swings, climbing frames – and some smaller stuff for the really small kids. Gordon park is not bad, but not half as much equipment. It took them an age to fix the slide, probably about a year which is not really acceptable considering it would be the most popular piece of equipment.

I have noticed a return to more exciting equipment in recent times, so we can only hope that we have learnt our safety lesson…i.e parents paying attention to what their children are doing and not expecting the environment to save them.

#10
Watson12:01 pm, 27 Oct 12

dtc said :

As soon as playground safety (or anything related to child safety) is mentioned, people start assuming that their lack of injuries when younger means no one was ever injured and therefore its all BS. Or that broken bones are what everyone needs to learn.

I know economists love to argue that reducing risk increases risky behaviour (I have seen people try to argue we should abolish CTP because that way people will have a greater incentive to drive better and accidents will actually go down); but its rarely applicable to situations in which people can get injured. People – even children – have a natural aversion to pain. If they learn that doing something results in a medium amount of pain (current playgrounds) then they dont do it again. You dont need them to suffer a lot of pain (old playgrounds) to learn that lesson.

That said, our ACT playgrounds are not very interesting in comparison to playgrounds you see in other parts of Australia. Like was said, after 6 there isnt much to keep a kid interested.

The playground at Acton was pretty old and falling apart when they got rid of it. There is a good climbing frame there (and, yes, you can fall at least 10m, so its not entirely cotton wool) but the area is crying out for a really good playground (like Black Mountain, but better)

I actually agree with you on the fallacy of the “we were fine in our day, so duh” argument. The total lack of any sort of consideration for basic injury prevention makes for great stories of life in the 80s jungle, but I would rather avoid trips to emergency if I can avoid it. But someone needs to give me some convincing stats on the significant number of playground injuries caused by the sort of equipment they have been removing in recent years (like for example those wooden cubby houses in Weston park) before I would admit that their current “remove anything that could possibly cause injuries” strategy has any benefit.

#11
dtc10:54 am, 29 Oct 12

Have a look at this recent article

http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/how-children-get-hurt-study-rings-alarm-for-parents-20121026-28awl.html

In short “”As a whole, falls from playground equipment appears to be the main cause of injury hospitalisation for children four and under,” said Ms Schmertmann, who led the study through the Injury Risk Management Research Centre at the University of NSW.”

#12
EvanJames11:50 am, 29 Oct 12

They’re going to have to remove ALL the trees, because they’re not safe. Kids climb them and fall out… they’re not SAFE I tell yers.

#13
Watson1:57 pm, 29 Oct 12

dtc said :

Have a look at this recent article

http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/how-children-get-hurt-study-rings-alarm-for-parents-20121026-28awl.html

In short “”As a whole, falls from playground equipment appears to be the main cause of injury hospitalisation for children four and under,” said Ms Schmertmann, who led the study through the Injury Risk Management Research Centre at the University of NSW.”

The article is about a study that breaks up the cause of injury further by age. They discovered that the playground equipment falls are highest for 3-4 yo only in that age group. Under 3s are way less likely to injure themselves on playground equipment.

But there’s no details about how these falls happened. Most importantly, it doesn’t specify if they fell in a public playground or in the backyard or daycare. I strongly suspect that the latter two categories would be far more represented as they are more common and there is often less intense supervision for that age group in those situations, compared to at a public playground.

And even if most did happen in public playgrounds – which I seriously question, you would need to compare the recent figures with the figures from before they started removing certain types of playground equipment to know if there was a decline.

Also, the latest ABS stats on childhood injuries I could find (which unfortunately were 10 years old) specifies that the vast majority of falls were falls from a height of less than a meter.

I still think the whole playground-safety-gone-mad thing has way more to do with public liability than with common sense injury prevention.

#14
dtc2:52 pm, 29 Oct 12

Watson said :

The article is about a study that breaks up the cause of injury further by age. They discovered that the playground equipment falls are highest for 3-4 yo only in that age group. Under 3s are way less likely to injure themselves on playground equipment.

True. But children under 3 generally dont climb very high on playground equipment. They cant walk for most of that time.

I’m sure some of the rest of what you say is true, although I dont know too many people with playgrounds in their backyard. But the study shows the most common cause of injury for children under 5 is falls from playground equipment.

So I dont really understand the argument that we shouldnt do anything about a danger which causes so many hospital admissions and in fact is the most common cause of hospitalisations (not just injury, but ‘serious’ injury). If you believe that falling onto rubber matting is just as likely to cause an injury as falling onto concrete or dirt or even tanbark, then have that view, but it seems irrational.

And if you actually look at playgrounds today, you will find swings and slides and see-saws and climbing frames and bridges and monkey bars and rock walls and balance beams. I’m not really sure why people think playgrounds have been ‘cotton woolled’ – it seems pretty similar to what I had when I was young (30+ years ago). The only difference is the rubber flooring and that most of it is made out of plastic rather than metal or wood.

The fact that most playgrounds in the ACT are now aimed at the younger age group is more likely a policy decision than a ‘playground safety’ decision.

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