This playground sign is taking safety way too far
Adam Hochron from our news department shared this photo with me. He took his daughter to a playground in a park in Monroe. When he read what was on this sign, he just had to take a picture. I understand, as does he, that the town is simply trying to cover its butt against liability. But for God's sake how far are we going to carry bubble wrapping our children?
This sign is actually warning parents to remove any clothing from children that has a drawstring because some children have died when a string has gotten caught in a piece of playground equipment. Wouldn't all logical parents want to know just what that number is? I did some research. According to a Consumer Product Safety Commission in a 2011 press release, they received a total of 26 reports of children who died when the drawstring on their garment became entangled on something.
But it was far more than playground equipment. It was school bus doors, car parts, and many other things. While tragic, this amounts to a freak accident. Are we really expecting the world to put up signs warning us about every far fetched freak accident lurking around every corner? Sneakers have laces. Isn't it conceivable that at some point in playground history a shoelace has snagged on a piece of equipment and bent a child's leg to the point that it broke? And then, well you know, a break might develop complications, right? What if infection sets in unexpectedly? Voila, just like that, a shoelace can be fatal. Let's put up a sign! Velcro shoes only!
If we want to live our lives like frightened actuaries seeing the danger in everything then we would love these signs. I don't believe most of us want that. We have babied and bubble wrapped our children to the point that we are no doubt raising a generation of neurotics. Can I play the When I Was A Kid game for a second? When I was a kid, we didn't have fake rubbery ground to build playgrounds on. We didn't even have rubber tire pieces, nor wood chips. We had pavement. If you fell, you skinned a knee and maybe bled. If you fell harder, you maybe broke something. But you also learned from it.
Now we're coddling children to the point we must be making them afraid of everything. Parents are afraid to put their children in certain sports. When towns are afraid of frivolous lawsuits to the point they put up ridiculous signs warning about freak accidents so rare they could classify as a Final Destination plot line, they only deepen the unnecessary paranoia parents and kids are feeling. Chill out, New Jersey!