"A two-year-old boy named Frank Nelson was climbing a 12-foot-tall slide in a Chicago park when he slipped through a railing and hit his head so hard that it caused permanent brain damage. The park system of Chicago was sued and had to pay out millions of dollars to Nelson’s family.
At that time, in the late 70s, there were no laws, or real industry standards when it came to the safety of playground equipment. Frank Nelson’s fall was one of a number of lawsuits that led the Consumer Product Safety Commission to publish the Handbook for Public Playground Safety in 1981. Then another standards organization, the ASTM, published its own guidelines. Pretty soon these rulebooks were in the hands of insurance companies and parks departments and school boards across the United States. To this day, almost all playgrounds have to be approved by a certified playground safety inspector.
And safety inspectors look for places where kids could fall, or get pinched, poked, or trapped. As you might imagine, all of these rules and regulations make the job of playground designers a lot harder. This is the reason why the playgrounds that you see everywhere all look more or less the same. A majority of playgrounds are “post and deck” systems with standard swings, slides, and monkey bars in one piece of equipment."
He's also worked hard to put in place a playground safety inspector certification system over here.
One of his core ideas is that there are two types of safety: subjective safety and objective safety.
For example, kids quickly learn that falling from a height is painful, and experiences such as that teaches them how to evaluate their own safety when say climbing. This is the subjective safety.
However they're usually not going to be able to correctly evaluate the safety of climbing a playhouse where they might get their head stuck between two planks because the opening between the planks were just right for their heads to fit, but not their bodies. Or that the hood drawstring in their jacket can get stuck in small wedges and openings, especially dangerous near slides. Such issues go under the objective safety.
Now, his point is that you can make playgrounds which are objectively very safe, without making them any less exciting. Part of the excitement comes from allowing the kids to explore their subjective safety boundaries, but a lot comes from the design itself.
He often works with one of the major suppliers of playground equipment on their new designs, but a large part of his secret sauce is how he places that equipment on the playground. Many playground designers (which at least here are mostly landscape architects) seem to just put one piece there and another over there, without giving much thought to facilitating the flow of spontaneous play from one piece of equipment to the next.
Anyway, he could explain this a lot better than me. I just help him out with some presentations and such every now and then.
Its more of a social mindset that creates safe roads than anything IMO.
I agree with that. The US has been training people to blame others for several decades now. The difference is obvious
Just because there are other methods to achieve safety doesn't mean the ones I mentioned don't work.
The Autobahn still has rumble strips and German cars still have airbags.
Do you have an example of a playground that he’s designed that highlights these principles?
"Obvious dangers" vs "non-obvious dangers" seems like much clearer language, even if it's the case that there's a way to squint to make the terminology you used make sense. Kids will naturally explore the boundaries around obvious dangers.
For example: a rollercoaster is subjectively dangerous but objectively safe. That’s its whole design objective, feeling dangerous while being totally safe.
That's not what the word "subjective" means. Language is malleable and all that, but "subjective" doesn't mean "feels like but isn't". Not even close.
Objective danger is things that don’t feel dangerous but are.
And wow, that's really not what "objective" means.
1) Dependent on or taking place in a person's mind rather than the external world.
2) Based on a given person's experience, understanding, and feelings; personal or individual.
#1 is exactly “feels dangerous but isn’t”. #2 also works because it fits into magicalhippo’s narrative about kids falling and adjusting their safety boundaries.
I won’t bother about “objective danger” because you didn’t either.
I think you’re not breaking things down sufficiently.
Subjective is how things feel, regardless of how they are.
Objective is how things are, regardless of how they feel.
Should probably replace feel with “are perceived” but feel is more contextual here.
You want to to eliminate unnecessary dangers introduced by the objects, and those are fully under the designers control. It's not reasonable or possible to try fully control the subjects to eliminate all risk.
Magical Bridge in Palo Alto. Caters to kids with developmental disabilities and kids who like to scramble over fun obstacles.
Magic Mountain in Coyote Point.
San Mateo Central Park. I think this one might be older than a lot of current standards.
For a playground that gets it all wrong, there’s a pirate ship structure in Vail, CO near the main base. It claims 5-12, but it ends up being very dangerous, even for adults, for all the wrong reasons. Hint to playground designers: make your slides as adventurous as you want, but give a good run-out before the slide dumps you on your arse two feet above the ground. That hurts without adding any sense of adventure.
If one child gets hurt from a slide or abducted by a stranger the whole country changes to avoid this risk but all the other risks are silently accepted.
As gruesome/horrifying as these sorts of calculations are, I do take your point. We often get overly worried about unlikely dangers when obvious ones are staring us in the face.
But in the end it is a "natural" cause of death., It's not like people wouldn't be dying of something else
20yrs extra? Sure. 0.5% increase in heart disease for people over 60? Don't waste my time
I'd guess that something changed at that time so the country was finally rich enough that this became a problem that got attention from The Powers That Be.
>“Many agencies fear being sued if a child gets hurt,” said Teri Hendy, the president of an Ohio-based playground consultancy, Site Masters. Ms. Hendy blamed outdated federal rules on playground design developed decades ago by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. She favors more flexible guidelines, arguing that playgrounds don’t have to be boring to be safe.
We got to this point because of lawsuits and regulation. Unless we make parents sign waivers for their kids to use the playground, we can expect more of the same. It just takes one lawsuit to ruin it for everyone else, so that's what organizations like these really need to protect themselves from.
There is nothing in this world quite so soul crushingly painful as having your child die while doing something that the parent and perhaps people in general, consider to be 'safe.'
For me, it took some time to fall madly and deeply in love with my spouse, and to my surprise I developed that attachment instantly to my children. That same sort of passion that you would do anything to keep them safe, to help them grow up to be the people you want them to be.
When a child dies doing something that "should" have been ok, it creates a searing, wrenching, soul destroying since of loss and guilt and anger and pain. No waiver, no explanation of statistics, no explanation of preventative measures, nothing can salve that wound. And so parents, even ones of limited means, have been known to invest everything they have, time, money, energy, into making someone pay in the hopes it will make the grieving parent feel slightly less pain.
It doesn't make for less pain of course, only time and distance can mute the pain, but that can't be explained either because the desire to do something is irrationally over powering.
Low probability high severity events trigger a cognitive bias that makes people attempt to make things '100% safe'. There are two problems with that.
1: nothing can ever be made 100% safe so those low probability high impact events still happen from time to time.
2: making things safe hits a steep diminishing returns curve after some point, and the opportunity cost of creating said safety level starts to outweigh the benefits of not creating it.
That's a tough sell, but that sounds reasonable (well, I can talk, I don't have children). This is basically the same reasoning Yudkowsky presented with his dust speck vs torture argument argument: a sufficiently widespread benefit, however small, will outweigh a sufficiently improbable horrible event.
Of course, part of the reason for so many kids is to minimize the percentage of my family that would be lost if one did die. My wife's uncle had the postcard family, one boy and one girl in a cute little city house with a picket fence. The daughter died, and the father completely fell apart. He lost 100% of his daughters. It is too late for him to create a replacement.
Most families today are tiny. I think this has affected our perception of loss. The risk of 100% loss has become so great that people can't allow the risk of traditional play.
I think I just read the most insane sentence I'll read all year.
Say you had two kids, and you lost both. One way to think of it is your lost all the children you ever had. Fine.
Say you had a DOZEN kids, and you lost six of them. Same thinking as above, you've lost half the children you ever had. Ok, but you still lost six kids!. Six kids have to go through life knowing they have lost six siblings. Having that somehow be better is pure insanity. Or at the very least the utmost self-centered thing I've ever heard of - you're hoping that the loss off 6 out of 12 kids is somewhat less of an impact on yourself when compared to losing two kids?
These are human beings, not cupcakes you're bringing to a picnic. If you brought two cupcakes, and hoping to have one yourself, but both were eaten before you could have your own cupcake, that stinks - but you're just out of a cupcake. Then yeah: bring a dozen cupcakes to share, and have yourself your own cupcake.
> the increased happiness of millions of children is worth a couple children's health, or even lives.
might be totally true, it's borderline-impossible to convince concerned (or worse, bereaved) parents of this in many cases, for human, not utilitarian, reasons.
I'm in Japan and there's a lot of dangerous playground equipment, hikes, stairwells, rooftop decks, onsens, alcohol that can be bought from vending machines, etc... And yet without all those 'experts'and authorities protecting society from these dangers, here it feels safety is many, many tiers better what we have in America.
I don't think that's an accurate reframing. The opportunity cost isn't just happiness (by making playgrounds boring, presumably) but also safety, and therefore lives, in other areas. When you hit diminishing returns trying to make playgrounds 100% safe, spending the same resources on e.g. road design will save more lives.
We can all survive with a little less happiness. If our playgrounds are a little more boring, we can all deal. (though if anything they are a lot nicer than the ones I grew up with) Happiness is a good that can come from many sources, and while it's nice to have, if it is reduced, we can usually adapt to it by finding a new source.
Happiness shouldn't be a reason to trade lives.
It may take away freedom. But freedom should not be a reason to trade lives.
Some may say the playground is about happiness, some may say it's about the freedom to experience.
But thanks to our laws, we don't have to worry about playground sets.
Low probability / high impact events are a fact of life and are a valid cause for regulations. Worker safety laws in the early 1900s were such that people more regularly lost fingers or even limbs in heavy machinery. It still happens today, but safety programs and safety regulations have made such events far less likely.
The value of life is not infinite. It is perfectly reasonable to sacrifice a few to improve the conditions of the many. Funnier, riskier playgrounds do exactly that.
That said, the article stated the "safer" playground engendered more injuries, mostly because bored kids were taking inconsiderate risks. The more dangerous playgrounds actually looked more dangerous, and the kids in them ended up taking less serious risks.
There's a good chance that more "dangerous" playgrounds are a one sided win. They could be better than the "safe" ones even if you disagree with my first two paragraphs.
I find it a very poor argument.
The second part..eh, if true than there's merit to it, although I would wager dangerous ones would hurt far more. We did stupid stuff just as much as in the old days as in the new, but iron does hurt a lot more than plastic.
Technically it is, but they're going to die in a century or so (if that) anyway, so anything that reduces quality of life enough is morally equivalent to killing them earlier.
0: at least to within measurement error
The whole western civilization is standing on the assumption that it is.
Violence, vehicles, medicine, pollution, etc, etc, etc.
Of course we've gotten to a place where we spend lots of dollars preventing 1 statistical death, but not even tens of millions most of the time.
I don't understand how vehicles or pollution change anything. I never said there are no bad actors, there are in every civilization, and there are compromises you need to make but that doesn't mean you would not do anything to save someone. Awareness about pollution and its effects is just starting to exist. We didn't think it's bad a few decades ago.
The UK is part of Western Civilization. Therefore it rests on the assumption that life has infinite value. Therefore, the UK will spend infinite money to ensure a person lives.
Any continental EU country will spend an unlimited amount of money to save someone. Even Ukraine will. Get your shit in the UK back together, I'd suggest.
Suggesting a maximal spend in my country would immediately lead to a revolt and change of government.
Valueing life is also not unique to western civilization. Yes, it values individualism highly, but confucian values are also highly concerned with humaneness and the value of life.
If it's regularly happening, it isn't a "low probability" event.
Actually there is and by several orders of magnitude more painful, and it is this: Watching these same parents scream safety, proclaiming the presciouness of their children while simultaneously condemning entire populations to death by their implicit support of wars, racism, and the governments responsible. Granted it may not be as immediately appearant of a reaction than say watching your child suffer, but while experiencing the death or suffering of a child may heal with time, the systemic effects of these masses of “concerned parents” lingers on with us forever.
"Eschew flamebait. Don't introduce flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents."
Anyway, do yourself a favor and send your comment five years into the future, to your 2024-self, via https://futureme.org. I guarantee you'll cringe, or your money back.
I want kids to learn that concrete is hard, and the harder you hit it, the more it will hurt. It's an easy lesson to learn, by trial-and-error, and transferable to many other situations. I don't want to make kids try to learn about lead poisoning by trial-and-error. They're not going to succeed at that. Even adults took 50 years of research to stop putting it in gasoline.
At a winter camp out the scouts were explicitly warned not to sled on the side of the hill that had trees. One scout didn't heed and hit a tree. He left the campout in an ambulance.
Another scout - luckily at the bottom of sandstone bluffs - decided to see how close he could get to the pot formed by a waterfall. He lost his footing and went into the pot which still held water. He was not injured but had to walk the rest of the hike in wet clothes. It was about 45°F so he was pretty uncomfortable. (At this park several people die each year because they make the same mistake at the top of the bluffs.)
These are just the actions that resulted in a problem or serious injury. There were many times when the youth got too close to the edge - often literally - and were lucky enough to escape unscathed.
On a visceral level I agree with not being overprotective, but being underprotective may not always have the desired effect of instilling a desire to be aware of hazards. Moreover, are we willing to accept the occasional death or maiming of a young person so their cohorts can learn about danger?
It's the same for the zero-tolerance fighting policies. Kids aren't allowed to fight back because the insurance company figured out that 4 hands throwing punches are worse than 2. The hospital bill is the same price whether the person with the broken nose is the bully or the victim.
It's not always the parents. Sometimes the insurance company will sue to recover costs.
This is not true where I currently live. It's a recently new suburban area (less than 15 years old) in an Australian city with a great number of parks scattered through it. Nearly every park has a playground and they are all different and all very high quality. Indeed, I'm quite amazed at how much money has been spent installing playgrounds. There is a great variety of what is on offer - some have latticed rope climbing nets, some have climbing walls, some have flying foxes, plus many other very imaginative features. They all have soft surfaces under them to cushion falls and most have a shade cloth over them. I am frankly envious of what is on offer to children these days - it is vastly superior and more exciting than what I had as a child.
Trees and other outdoor features still exist that are 'undesigned' and can provide significant risk and thrill to the more adventurous child who climbs up and on them. But I applaud the increased safety built into the modern playground. To me it appears to have spurred innovation and imaginative design, not hampered it.
There are probably already websites devoted to this...
The playgrounds my kids played in when they were little were a thousand times cooler than the crappy playgrounds I had growing up
needless to say, as a younger boy, seeing a towering (maybe 8-10ft. height) pile of sand was amazing, I put on my swimming trunks, sunscreen and grabbed a bucket and shovel.
i spent hours just digging holes and making sand castles in the hot sun of a kansas summer, I think my parents were relieved that I was off the computer for a significant portion of time.
First step was to bring in a mountain of good soil. That soil mountain was piled 6' high for a week, and I spent a lot of time playing on it. (My brother: "You know that pile is half cow shit, right?" ... Me: "Don't care")
When we were younger we'd climb the fence and go adventuring. As we got older, it was bolt cutters to get the gate open and ride our ATCs out there. If you saw a truck in the distance, it was time to scatter.
I'm pretty sure the cops/security back then were content with us running away.
I can feel the itching already.
From the kids' perspective, that big pile of rocks would be equally good whether it was stable and safe to climb on, or some 1-ton rock was teetering ready to crush the first child to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's up to the playground designer to make sure it's the former and not the latter.
The playground should feel a little dangerous and let kids climb things, fall off, get bumps and scrapes. It shouldn't contain genuine life-threatening hazards.
But the reality of a foreign-language school is that you need more than just "nationals" (people who speak German at home or have one German-speaking spouse in a couple) to make the finances work. And quite a few American parents were and are interested because of the quality of education. But once their kids were enrolled, many of them wanted more safety, more discipline, a less casual attitude to kids getting naked, and academic work assigned to preschoolers which is not part of the German pedagogy.
All of which made me wonder "why did you choose this school? And if you chose it for its results, why challenge the process that gets those results?" But indeed, by the early 201Xs, the playground had been neutralized into the same old anodyne sterility of the public parks.
(Amazingly, Silicon Valley has two German schools within a few miles of each other; one is subsidized by the government, the other is not so you get to pick your ideology. But it does split the customer base).
We have this in Palo Alto: people move to the Cal Ave district and then complain about the noise from the dive bar Antonio's that's been there for decades. Fortunately the city has so far ignored these complaints.
But also more was expected: I remember nobody thought it remarkable when the after school teacher just decided one day to take 8 or 10 kids aged 5-11 on foot to downtown Palo Alto (3-4 miles round trip) by herself.
This facilitates school age kids in all grades who are capable of riding city buses and trains on their own to and from school. Obviously the lack of child abduction in the news plays a role in parents allowing this.
It's a gristly topic and maybe what I'm saying is obvious. I just hope nobody in the pro-risk camp takes the message too far.
I extended the zipline to 200' this spring, it goes over about 50' of water. They're 6 & 8 now, they hook themselves up and do all the safety checks I showed them once. Literally once.
They also have full access to my workshop, they respect it and ask before cutting off their fingers.
I think we underestimate the young mind's respect for responsibility when we give it to them. Conversely, if you protect your child from everything, they do not develop the skills that ask inherent questions such as 'how can this thing I'm about to do grow wrong? What is my plan if it does go south?'
Fast forward many years and I'm thankful for the learning that came out of those times.
History is absolutely full of young people who did not survive due to but a moment's inattention or foolishness.
My most daring stunts, were on "safe" playgrounds too, for example trying to make swings do a 360 (yes, I tried that, never succeeded).
Both times what was going on my mind is that I wanted to do something fun, and the equipment looked like it would work for what I wanted... Ended once even accidentally disassembling a swing (it had a "hook" shaped hinge and I swung it too far and it detached).
But the most fun I ever had... was playing on an uncle storage closet full of boxes and old stuff, climbing on trees, learning to cook, making my own sword when I was 16, and so on.
"Safe" looking stuff make people (even adults) do unsafe things (see the other article about road speeds, mentioning how wider lanes make people speed more and crash more often).
ha, my childhood friends and i used to try to do that too. we settled on swinging as high as we could and doing backflips out of the swing. i don't know how not one of us got injured that way.
Apparently it can be done if your swing has rigid bars in stead of ropes:
"The coup de grace, though, came the day I went to pick a student up from the playground and as the child was running to greet me, the preschool teacher sang out ‘Remember the new rule, Kai! No running on the playground!’
No. Running. On. The. Playground."
Luckily my ex co-worker's wife is a bit of a trouble maker and has taught her son to organize. He successfully organized a bunch of kids to protest the unfair rules and draft their own set of rules they thought was reasonable. Last I heard, they succeeded. Unfortunately that worked with a Napoleon complex is still around but she's been somewhat neutralized.
Modern parents who keep up to date on the parenting zeitgeist will have been exposed to the complementary idea to risky play that instead of saying "Be careful!" to a kid, you can instead ask "Do you feel safe?", helping emphasize what it is that you actually care about and helping your kid develop their gut feeling for what is/isn't a good idea. (See one writeup of this at https://rhythmsofplay.com/get-outside-connect-climb-a-tree/ but a Web search for ["do you feel safe" "be careful"] will find lots of people saying essentially the same thing).
I wonder what the zeitgeist will say in 10 or 20 years - given what everyone is thinking now, where will they be in a little while when we've had a chance to reflect on what we've tried and how it's gone?.
I wouldn't recommend starting with a pan of boiling oil, but my five-year-old loves helping to make pancakes, and it took exactly one glancing touch for him to learn that the edge of the frying pan is hot.
My kids have been so coddled, they cant even play in the yard for long before they want to come in. Over the last year they are getting better, but when they have friends over, many of them wont even go into the forest and will only stay close to the house.
Could be wrong in that assessment, but that's how I read it.
somewhere out there, build a tree-hut, show your kids what fun can be had there.
One of the reasons we moved was to give them more direct access to nature.
Life is about evaluating risk. You need to learn it at some point. A playground is as good a place as any.
By all means, make them safe enough that kids won't get maimed or killed - but keeping kids from ever falling far enough to feel any real pain is probably counter- productive in the long term.
Sigh. My eldest kid's kindergarten advertised themselves as an outdoor experience thingy, then proceeded to cut down every tree on their premises as kids climbed them (the horrors!) and occasionally fell down (Aaaieee!) - so better make the playground look like any generic McPlayground.
There is no room between "overprotection" and "freedom", that guarantees safety from harm. Serious accidents have to be accepted before they even happen.
A scary prospect for many parents, I am sure.
Rest assured, I don't think anyone else does either.
But I don't agree with accepting risk in a designed playground. Safety for the children using it should be a very high priority, because it is being expressly made for children to play on and therefore the designers have a responsibility to design for safety. And life is more than just evaluating risk and so is play. Play is also physical activity and building co-ordination and strength while having fun. Playgrounds can provide this without including risk. Risk is available elsewhere and the adventurous kids will easily find it if they seek it out (e.g. by climbing trees, if they haven't all been cut down).
One can certainly argue that we've gone too far in the direction of removing all risk of injury. But saving lives? Absolutely the right thing to do! One preventable death is one death too many.
The goal here should be "controlled risk". Not no risk at all, but controlled risk in well-understood conditions to ensure that kids can still experiment and have fun without risking death or permanent injury. This article mentions kids having access to hammers and nails and planks to build stuff. That's controlled risk; they could hurt themselves, but they're not going to kill themselves (at least, not by accident). But you wouldn't give them a nail gun.
I'm suddenly reminded of the game SOMA and every other "the ends justify the means" AI story where unspeakable horrors come from mottos like "save all lives at all costs."
The problem is right here, what is the society acceptable definition of preventable? Keeping all children in hermetic bubbles would prevent all child deaths due to disease, but weaken their immune system so much that the minute they come out they would get sick and die as an adult. In effect all these safety efforts are creating mental hermetic bubbles that fucks their future mental state when they finally achieve independence.
To me that's kind of a facious slippery slope argument. Of course it isn't worth it to completely lock down a person's life in the name "safety" or "their own good", but when you can take measures that guarantee a greater degree of safety with only a thin, marginal reduction in freedom, "living", or whatever you wish to call it (if any reducation at all) - of course it is worth it.
To me this would be something like restricting people's right to drive on public roads when we have a fully autonomious network of vehicles (however long that will take). Sure people are a bit more restricted in their freedom to man a vehicle, but on the other hand you could (and this is what I am wagering) completely eliminate the ~95% of vehicle accidents and deaths caused by humans.
When are we banning cars?
Kids might have more fun in the car not wearing seatbelts, for example. I know as a kid I was especially resistant to putting on a seatbelt because why should it restrict my movement? But I would hope we can all understand that seatbelts are a necessity for safety.
We accept that cars in the US are necessary for our daily lives, and take action to prevent as much death or injury as we can. This is why we have regulations on speed, stop signs, lights and more. We've created an entire regulatory system for the sake of making driving safer.
In this case, is it really any different from regulatory agencies ensuring that playgrounds don't have things that could cause clearly preventable injuries?
To put it another way, lightning strikes are one of the rarest forms of death in the country, and yet still kill more people in the US than the size of my family's big holiday dinner
1 in a 1,000?
6 in 10,000?
13 in 10,000?
1 in 100,000?
Drowning? Also down by a similar ratio. Generic accidents? Same, same.
Sure, there has never been as safe a time to be a kid as today. Big question is, does being wrapped in cotton throughout your formative years make for a safer life as an adult, or did you miss some lessons in risk assessment which makes you more prone to getting it good and hard later in life?
I'd just not kid myself. It will come with more injuries, hopefully not debilitating.
I got several unpleasant injuries by playing freely with anything available. I threw a metal rod through my feet. Jumped on a 4" nail while running, securing my shoe to my feet, quite well, cut half my thumb off with my favorite knife. :) All these things and more I can see kids be able to achieve in such an environment.
I suspect that had my parents have to do more than just drive me to the emergency, they'd be more involved in ensuring I don't do these things again.
I wonder if free public healthcare like in many EU countries vs whatever is in the US has an effect on what parents let their children do.
It was one of most memorable and fun places I remember going as a kid. I did once end up with a nail in my arm (which I still have a scar from), but even after that happened my parents let me keep going back.
E.g. I remember playing with real chemistry sets with chemicals that could be potentially harmful if ingested, alcohol burners, glass tubing we had to flame-polish ourselves. Those are long gone; just replaced with "safe" but incredibly dumbed-down kits that are little more than dyes/food-coloring.
For example, you can purify garden sulfur by recrystallizing it with xylene. This is plenty dangerous, since xylene is almost like gasoline (a bit less volatile) and you'll be heating it up nearly to boiling. The aromatic ring structure is required; most other solvents produce deadly hydrogen sulfide gas.
"Why I’m Sending My Child to Forest School and not Kindergarten" https://www.cbc.ca/parents/learning/view/why-im-sending-my-c...
I don't recall if any of us even got hurt doing this.
I also think cities moving towards higher density with little to no yards for full homes isn't helping.
But of course, this is southern Connecticut, where people have their lawyers on speed dial. TireTown and its accoutrements were a lawsuit waiting to happen. When I surveyed my old school on Google Maps a few years ago, they were all gone, replaced with a much smaller standard playground.
Almost stepped on nails a few times. Only took my kids once. Felt a little too unsafe.
I suspect kids probably go hurt on these (they are solid metal bars that go up pretty high after all). I've seen them return to playgrounds, but today they're all made of rope and above softer material like sand or recycled tiers.
Sure kids are safer today, but that element of danger is gone. I recently though about that when I read "The Coddling of the American Mind," where the authors talk about how kids are 'anti-fragile' and how trying to make them safe actually keeps them from learning how to deal with tough situations in life. I think they mention these types of playgrounds in the book.
I've yet to find a kid that doesn't find a flat field of grass outdoors to be fun, so if there's a problem here, it's parents keeping kids indoors, not playground safety being too good.
A glorious, if occasional, feature of my childhood. We did refer to it that way, I think organically (perhaps just looking back and not at the time - I can't recall). I found the article about it by googling the phrase!
I'm not sure how I'd feel about my own child on it, to be honest. I'm more bummed that he isn't allowed to climb any of the disused locomotive engines that are still present (but now fenced off) at a number of playgrounds.
It's coming up in a few weeks: http://camptipsy.com/
(I'm not involved, just a frequent attendee - it's fun)
It was a pleasure to hear.
The issue is one of scaling risk as the knowledge and responsibility of the child increases. It's not surprising we have sued things down to the lowest/safest common denominator.
This 14-minute video has some of the highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKDx_piZvsg
This oral history is pretty fascinating too: http://mentalfloss.com/article/536412/action-park-water-park...
https://stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma/2018/12/06/the-surprisi... - mentions how some parts were designed to make it easy for kids to go to certain places but hard for parents to follow.
The park there had slides made of steel which towered above the area homes. It was awesome and made those relatives my favorite to visit until the town modernized the park and got rid of all the remotely risky stuff in the process.
But shortly after that I discovered skateboards and stairs, and the joys of evading the local community college police. Maybe it's OK that the parks are neutered, we can still find risk if we want it.
Edit: better link of the people that organise it https://www.woodlandtribe.org/
I tried to build a miniature wrestling ring with four nails, some rubber-bands, and a square piece of wood. I hit my thumb alot.
This is basically the environment I grew up in for a good portion of my life (and I'm so happy for it).
I can't remember the playgrounds from the US very well anymore but thinking about it yeah most places I went to were pretty cookie cutter, but I'm also old so I think the boring part is maybe not directly correlated with safety.
Here is a company that makes playgrounds in Denmark http://monstrum.dk/en/ I have several of them in my area. I just wonder if there is really less of a focus on safety in Denmark of all places. And if so, why?
on edit: fixed typo
North Korea imprisoning a single idiot American who crossed the border = national dialogue because it's outrageous
School shooting where 3 people die = national dialogue on gun control because it's outrageous.
DUI accident that kills a family of 5 = small blurb in local news because it's not outrageous (even if it should be).
Thousands of people dying from obesity-related health issues = crickets because it is not outrageous.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19923668 and marked it off topic.
I'm sorry, what country is this? The one I live in its just "thoughts and prayers" when that happens.
What does someone who both believes gun control is necessary and wants to send "thoughts and prayers" do? I think the idea of gun control is a target at a solution while thoughts and prayers are meant to console the individual.
Anyway, it's just something I found super annoying. I had someone who I know lost a loved one (not due to guns) and I struggled with what to say. It's a simple thing, but I realized I didn't know how to attempt to console someone anymore.
> "Prayer that doesn't lead to concrete action toward our brothers is a fruitless and incomplete prayer. [...] Prayer and action must always be profoundly united"
- Pope Francis. (grabbed from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoughts_and_prayers)
Otherwise, that to many people the phrase has become synonymous with willful inaction is just collateral damage.
It doesn't even call out the hypocrisy of christians that don't support gun control. They can believe in other ways forward, like arming all kids with guns and having them practice lots of active shooter drills, or whatever, but it is the "it is not that bad, let's not worry about it" attitude that makes people angry. The original comment I was replying to talked about a "having a national dialogue on gun control", which simply hasn't happened.
It's funny, we assume everyone uses the same definition of a phrase or slogan as we do and just by reading through the comments on this I see that's not the case.
I don't see how the two equate to hypocrisy. A friend of mine (a Christian) is strongly opposed to gun control. He has a concealed carry license and carries everywhere, because he wants to have the means to protect himself and his loved ones from an active shooter, if necessary. He cites "if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns," and feels personally affronted by gun control legislation.
That, and he prays regularly for others. I for one would not accuse him of hypocrisy on that basis.
> hypocrisy of Christians who don't support gun control
That's a gross oversimplification of what it takes to be a hypocrite. I've met people who fall into the hypocrite category on both ends, but I what I didn't understand is how this "thoughts and prayers" thing was being used.
To me it felt like an attack on Christianity, which I didn't fully understand. I feel like I get it a lot better now though.
Guns wear out, simply cutting production would do a lot to reduce the number of guns in the system (outlaw or not).
We'd save more lives by forcing car manufacturers to install ML based drunk detection systems in the driver seat.
Guns will wear out eventually, heck, they can also run out of ammunition. Industrialization is an incredible enabler for gun use (one the founding fathers obviously didn’t have to worry about), and taking that away causes the system of mass gun violence to fall over quickly.
Simply taking 11 million units of production offline will make guns much more expensive worldwide, let alone in the USA. That crazy person who has an idea to go shoot up a school will have to find some money to pay up if they don’t have one already. Let’s also not ignore what happened in other countries that banned or severely cut back on gun use: none of what the pro gun crowd would predict what would happen.
> We'd save more lives by forcing car manufacturers to install ML based drunk detection systems in the driver seat.
Why do that when Uber/Lyft have already mostly solved the problem and self driving cars will do so even more? If gun advocates actually believed in gun control at all, we could talk about technological solutions in that space. But their position is that any gun control at all is useless, and ironically enough implies that only a ban would be worth considering. (And yes, I’m all for taking away your manually driven car when self driving car technology is ready, it just makes so much sense from a safety and traffic perspective).
Also, accounts that use HN primarily for political or ideological battle eventually get banned here, and when people keep doing that, we eventually ban their main account as well. Why? Because HN is subject to all sorts of forces tearing it apart, and those forces win by default, so we have to protect it. If you'd review the site guidelines and take that spirit to heart and help protect it, we'd be grateful—and it's in your interests to do so, since that's the only way HN stays interesting in the long run.
To use a less charged example: developers might feel bad for novice users who get computer viruses on Windows or Mac OS. They might even help people out. And that’s entirely consistent with those sample people opposing locking down Windows and MacOS like iOS in the name of security.
Unless your a friend or immediate family member there is sweet fuck all you can do to console someone in a time of grief.
At the same time, I too felt compelled to help them when they were stuck...
Sure, cars are unsafe and thousands of people die on the roads every year, but I am a good driver and I won't have a bad accident like that. If I do it's my own fault.
Yes, eating too much is bad for me but it's my own fault - I could just eat less.
(side note - if I believe it would be my fault if I die of something, I'm going to believe if you die of that thing it's your fault)
Kids getting shot at school - not their fault and there is nothing they could do to avoid it.
Being blown up by a terrorist's bomb? Nothing you could do as an individual to avoid it.
I can see how some folks can get confused, though.
Personally I am pro-choice, but if you are really pro-life you cannot morally allow for exceptions in the case of rape or incest- unless of course your stated agenda isn't the same as your real agenda
The parallels are pretty obvious, and they do not require a ruler and compass to construct.
I don’t know who you’ve heard that viewpoint from (abortion is wrong except in cases of rape/invest) but I don’t believe that and I don’t know anyone who does. I think it appears as a political concession and rarely (if ever) as a sincerely held belief.
The unborn that are getting killed can typically move about, feel pain, and respond to injury. They react in agony when being torn apart or injected with brine.
They have brainwaves, which is the usual standard (varies by state law) we use to draw the line at the end of life, with the loss of brainwaves meaning death. Obviously we don't need to check dusty old bones or a person chatting with the doctor, but we do check in the difficult cases.
Consistency demands that our standard for one end of a lifetime be as similar as possible to our standard for the other end of a lifetime. That standard for death, subject to minor variations in state law, is brainwaves.
Conveniently, such a standard eliminates the rape excuse. There is plenty of time prior to brainwaves.
... so far, it’s sounding eerily like reasons people used to use for enslaving Africans in the 18th century.
And yes, that means I think common in-vitro fertilization practices (including making multiple zygotes and throwing some out) are morally wrong and equivalent to abortion.
If anyone disagrees, I contend it's because of the moral implications, not any lack of soundness in the scientific or logical arguments.