Protect kids, ban swing sets

To avoid future lawsuits, a West Virginian county is banning swing sets from all their schools.

Schools in Cabell County, West Virginia are in the process of removing all of the swing sets on their playgrounds. The reason? They are too dangerous. After two different lawsuits, the most recent one the result of a boy playing superman as he flew off the swing, the schools determined that something needed to be done. Replacing the ground covering with a protective padding proved to be too expensive – a figure upwards of $576,000. Their only other option was to remove the swing sets from every school, creating an uproar among parents and a claim of being “un-American”. I’m just going to say it, because I know you all are thinking it –

What the heck is wrong with today’s kids that they can’t even jump off of a swing without some sort of protection put in place?

Excuse me for the old fogey talk, but in my day we swung on swing sets that sat upon sand or concrete. In fact, there is a picture in my parents’ house of my sister and I sitting on a bar several feet off the ground at a sandy park in Sonoma. Next to that tall swing bar (that has ironically been removed since) were our favorite swings that we would attempt to swing all the way around the set on (we never were able to, but heard legends of kids who could). We did not have foam padding to land softly and gently on. We did not cautiously float to the ground or stop moving our feet so that we could eventually coast to a stop. We swung ourselves with all our might and then flung ourselves from the seat of the swing, trying to land as far as possible away from the swing. Sometimes we made it to our feet, but many times we fell and tumbled to a stop. And yes, there were kids we knew who broke an arm or a leg on the swing, as well as other playground equipment. But it was all a part of childhood. Their parents did not sue the city or the school. The schools did not remove playground equipment that a kid got hurt on. It was not demanded that a foam carpet be put down to protect all of our delicate bodies. They just casted the ailing kid up and we were all back to swinging and playing superman as we flew off the swing.

With the removal of swings, I’ve been brainstorming some ideas to help keep our kids safe.

• Ban jumping (potential ankle breaking activity) on the basketball courts by lowering the hoops to 2 feet.
• Hook kids up to a tether so that they don’t slide too fast down the slide.
• Secure pillows around tether balls so that kids won’t hurt themselves when they are hit in the face.
• Instead of dodge ball, play dodge balloon.
• Hopscotch is now Shuffle-scotch
• Monkey bars can only be used if the child is touching the ground at the same time.
• Kickball can only be played with an imaginary ball.
• All school sports must be played virtually through video games, and the child must be sitting at all times so as to not overexert themselves.
• Before playing on the playground, all kids must be outfitted in a pillow suit to protect against falls, and then covered with a giant balloon to protect against germs

On that note, stay tuned for future rant involving the over-usage of anti-bacterial agents…..

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12 thoughts on “Protect kids, ban swing sets”

  1. I remember when they took down the tire swing at my old elementary school because a group of kids decided it would be a good idea to pile about 15 children on the swing, and surprise, surprise, it broke. Someone ended up badly hurt, and since all children now couldn’t be trusted to swing properly (despite the fact that it had hung there for over ten years with nary an incident ocurring), they were banned completely. I’m just afraid that this whole trend of raising children in a nice plastic bubble is going to backfire on all of us, and the future generations will be so incapable of dealing with real life issues that we’ll be screwed. I’d like to think that we’ll have tough leaders taking over …. but at this rate, your list is not going to be a funny side-joke, but some school’s new playground guideline. Kids get hurt. That’s what they do. They fall out of trees and jump from the tops of slides and, occasionally, even trip and fall in their very own driveways, causing them to chip their teeth (Which both of my children have done…twice). But you know what? They learn not to do that. By turning around and suing the closest possible entity, we (as society) are teaching these children to not accept responsibility for their actions and then all of the other children who follow are deprived of VITAL life lessons. Not to mention a fun recess.

  2. Did somebody forget to mention the major causes for all this situation? The biggest two are (1) trial lawyers and (2) parents who think they may have just hit the lottery if their precious child is injured through his own “childishness”. And number (3) would probably be the juries that let them get away with this.

  3. another case of parents with nothing to do but sue. get a life and teach your kids how not to be so stupid. yes accidents happen, thats why they are called accidents. its no cause to sue and ruin it for everyone else. no wonder kids are so fat these days. they take all the fun away from them. “everything” is too dangerous.

  4. This is absolutely ridiculous. I cannot believe the obsession with “safety” that permeates our parental culture. Sure, things happen. We still drive cars despite the grave risks posed by accidents at highway speeds, we go to Disneyland and ride roller coasters, we eat McDonalds, drink soda, and use microwaves. If we could get more kids to spend more unstructured time out of doors, swinging, running, jumping rope, playing dodgeball, doing whatever it is kids would do if given the freedom and opportunity, we might not have so many sedentary, fat children. Such a shame…

  5. Oh, and to be clear, I meant ‘amen, all around.’ to both the blog and the subsequent comments, but not even a little bit to the idea of banning swing sets for ‘safety reasons’. But while I’m clarifying, I want to extend my agreement to the two most recent comments as well.

  6. I have seen this behavior for years – let’s take out all the “dangerous” playground equipment to avoid someone being “hurt”. Actually what it means is to avoid being sued since we are a sue-happy society now – anything for a quick buck.

    I used to swing on a rope swing in a Corte Madera canyon, over rocks, tree stumps and probably 25′ high. My parents knew about it, it was on someone elses property who also knew about it and every kid in the neighborhood was told by their parents – if you get hurt, don’t come home crying to me!

    We took out metal slides because they were too hot – maybe that’s how a kid learns not to touch hot metal; we take out swings because someone might jump off ( of course, that’s fun ) or someone might get kicked ( what are you doing walking in front of the swing?@???).

    I agree with the “kids in a bubble” comment. If kids spent more time outside, swinging, jumping, running and yes ( Oh NO!) jumping off the swings, maybe they would be in better shape instead of increasing the fat kid population of America.

  7. Perhaps every parent should sign a waiver stating that if their child jumps off a moving swing that the school district is not liable. Of course this would also require constant adult supervision and probably a permanent video camera on the premises that could provide the necessary evidence if needed. All kidding aside, bring on tort reform!

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