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Can a Playground be Too Safe?

The playgrounds that I grew up in had Flying Foxes, things that spun around so much that I wanted to vomit and other equipment that I knew that if I didn’t hold on tight enough I would fly off and REALLY hurt myself! These things taught me to be careful, to stay off when the older children were on them and to show my brother that I was braver than he thought by actually going on them when they were in full swing!  And funnily enough, I don’t have one memory of my Mom telling me that they were too dangerous. She let me learn, she let me take risks and I never hurt myself (badly)!

We have a park down the road from our house and there is a swing there that is an accident waiting to happen. Yet as I watch the 10 and 11 year olds stand on it and jump off when it’s at it’s highest I see that they have perfected the art and have no fear. My daughter has tried twice to climb off the swing while it’s moving, not realizing that it is going to swing back and smack her in the face.

After reading this article in the New York Times I’ve realized that I’m becoming one of the New Age ‘Don’t Risk It’ parents! I told her that she is not allowed on the swing until she has learnt how to get off it properly, but how else is she going to learn if she hasn’t tried it?

So this weekend, it’s off to the swing we go!


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