Andrea Levin is grateful that Broward County schools care about her daughter's safety. But this year when they posted a sign that demanded "no running" on the playground, it seemed like overkill. . . .
Broward's "Rules of the Playground" signs, bought from an equipment catalogue and displayed at all 137 elementary schools in the district, are just one of several steps taken to cut down on injuries and the lawsuits they inspire.
"It's too tight around the equipment to be running," said Safety Director Jerry Graziose, the Broward County official who ordered the signs. "Our job was to try to control it."
How about swings or those hand-pulled merry-go-rounds?
"Nope. They've got moving parts. Moving parts on equipment is the number one cause of injury on the playgrounds."
"Nope. That's moving too."
"Well, I have to be careful about animals" turning them into litter boxes.
Cement crawl tubes?
"Vagrants. The longer they are, the higher possibility that a vagrant could stay in them. We have shorter ones now that are made out of plastic or fiberglass."
Broward playgrounds aren't the only ones to avoid equipment that most adults remember. Swings, merry-go-rounds, teeter-totters and other old standards are vanishing from schools and parks around the country, according to the National Program for Playground Safety. . . .
In their place, a lot of playgrounds now are inhabited with clusters of bright, multi-use contraptions with names like "Ed Center" and "Platform Climber Composite Structure." They're lower to the ground than their predecessors, coated with plastic and engineered for safety.
"We could do a lot more if we didn't have to watch our back every single second," said Graziose, who has led a playground safety committee for 17 years. "We sometimes get a letter from the attorney before we even get an accident report from the school."
Go back to Russia!
The playground equipment at my kid's public school is known only as "The Apparatus."
The first time I heard this term, in fact, was in this sentence: "Today a girl broke her arm falling off The Apparatus."
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