The playground of the future: a padded room


T-bar swings are being removed from Auckland playgrounds after a set suddenly failed while being used by a child.

Suddenly.   Unlike other things that fail over long periods of time.  Like light bulbs, or your phone no longer starting.

Auckland Council is spending about $220,000 replacing the 87 T-bar swings at 69 sites around the city after the recent incident on Waiheke Island.

“The issue was brought to our attention after a set of swings collapsed at Oneroa Beach on Waiheke in mid-June,” Ian Maxwell, Auckland Council’s director of community services, told the Herald on Sunday.

“A kid was playing on the swing when it failed with no visual warning but fortunately the child wasn’t injured.”

The T-bar swings were installed at parks and playgrounds around Auckland between 15 and 20 years ago. Metal fatigue and rust on the pipe which secures them into the ground is believed to be the cause of the problem.

“We treat the safety of youngsters very seriously and we have decided to replace all the T-bar swings with classic models which hang from an overhead frame,” Maxwell said. “You can’t take a chance with things like this.

Nobody was injured.

You have to wonder why Council reacts this way.  We have ACC which is essentially a no-fault accident insurance system, so the Council aren’t acting to mitigate financial risk.

The whole point of playgrounds is that these are areas where kids are encouraged to go out of their comfort zones.

Many ponds now have fences around them, and certain trees are being cut down because kids are climbing them.

So here is the playground of the future.  As long as you don’t have a grass allergy, are sensitive to sun, or are prone to lying face down in a shallow puddle.


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