Free-Range Kids

Schools Ban Swings Because Everything Is Dangerous

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Swings
Mike Plante / Wikimedia Commons

Schools in Richland, Washington, are phasing out playground swing sets. According to KEPRTV:

Swings are blamed for the most injuries of any play equipment.

Richland School District already removed them from some campuses and will phase them out of the rest.

"As schools get modernized or renovated or as we're doing work on the playground equipment, we'll take out the swings, it's just really a safety issue, swings have been determined to be the most unsafe of all the playground equipment on a playground," said Richland School District's Steve Aagard.

Before your head explodes, remember that the school district has some very compelling argu… oh wait. It doesn't. Of course some kids get hit by swings and of course there are some injuries—even awful ones—but that does not automatically mean we must ban swings. If it did, we would have to ban all solid food because some kids choke. We would have to ban all bikes because some kids wipe out and hurt themselves. We would have to chop down all of America's trees as well—at least in parks and playgrounds—because some children climb them and fall off.

free-range-kids

The school district says "pressure from insurance companies over the liability is part of the issue." The only sane thing to do is push back. Heck, most insurance companies would like to keep children seatbelted to their chairs and strapped to blood pressure cuffs, just in case of any heart conditions. Can't be too careful!

In any case, schools that eviscerate their playgrounds are actually putting their kids at risk—just a different kind of risk. Think obesity. Depression. Diabetes. One thing we know that combats all three is playing outdoors: an activity that has included swinging since Tarzan's time.

Insurance agents look at life through the lens of risk. Nothing looks safe to them. But there's no reason for the rest of us to think like Allstate. Citizens of Richland: Unite! You've nothing to lose but your chains (with swings at the bottom of them).

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179 responses to “Schools Ban Swings Because Everything Is Dangerous

  1. Insurance agents look at life through the lens of risk. Nothing looks safe to them.

    Same with government. They’re a match made in hell.

    1. Sandwich the two between lawyers and you’d have the world largest dingleberry sandwich.

    2. My insurance agent will insure anything. It’s the underwriters that don’t care for it.

      1. Nothing is beneath the underwriters.

          1. Just ban underducks.

      2. It’s the underwriter’s job to assess risk, the agent is essentially a broker. And it’s not even the underwriter’s doing per se. If courts were not forcing property owners (ergo their insurance company) to pay vast claim settlements for playground accidents, insurance companies wouldn’t give half a flying fuck about swings. That is if in fact the superintendent is being honest about the insurance company pressuring them, since that same pressure doesn’t seem to be exerted on schools elsewhere that almost universally have swings.

        Libertarians bitching about insurers mitigating risk are libertarians who need to read up a bit more on their economics.

        1. Agreed. It’s a problem with courts, not insurance companies.

        2. I suspect the unspoken thing is ADA, since it’s politically untouchable.

          Swings are no longer possible, at least in CA, because you can’t keep the surface immediately under the swing ADA-compliant. There is no surface that stands up to being kicked from a swinging posture hundreds of times a day without being whacked out of ADA compliance and needing repair.

          It may be different in other states, but in CA that’s largely the real reason why swings have disappeared.

    3. As long as Warren Buffet is making money…

      1. +1 Gen Re

    4. Our tort system doesn’t help. If you take your kid to a playground, you assume some risk that the kid might get hurt. That’s life. It’s absurd that people get sued over things that are obvious possibilities. If equipment is damaged or unreasonable unsafe, that’s another matter, but all playground equipment is potentially dangerous in some way or other.
      Insurance underwriters are given little choice.

      1. If you take your kid to a playground, you assume some risk that the kid might get hurt.

        Ha ha, that’s quaint.

        1. Nah, it’s true, if not in a legal sense. Unless you are a complete fucking moron, you know that there is some possibility of a child hurting itself on even the most lame, safety-minded playground equipment.

          1. Except it doesn’t work that way anymore, as amply pointed out below. I certainly remember when it did.

            1. I still think non-idiots know that kids get hurt sometimes and its really no ones fault. But some will sue anyway because they can.

        2. If a kid can climb an 8-foot fence, ignoring “DANGER ELECTRICAL HAZARD” signs to get into an electrical station and electrocute himself and this results in the parents suing the nearest deep pocket without huge numbers of lawyers on retainer…no, we can’t really say our courts believe anyone assumes risk anywhere. Not if it will decrease total revenue going to lawyers.

          (In this case, a church renting a building on the same property as the electrical station…who, except for occasionally using electricity, had NOTHING to do with the electrical station. Power company apparently had too many lawyers to go after.)

      2. Yes – the tort system (i.e., all the asshole parents who sue for millions when little Johnnie falls down on the playground). Insurance companies end up paying the settlement most of the time so it’s understandable that they should consider the risk when writing a policy. What the school is really afraid is that their liability premiums will go through the roof (or be unable to get a policy)

        1. I wonder what would happen to a Principal who required parents to sign a consent form, taking responsibility for the possibility of some level of injuries, before allowing their children to play on the playground, or maybe even attend school.

          1. I don’t think it would be enforceable, since attendance at the public school is mandatory.

            Yet another argument for school choice.

    5. So let me get this straight:
      The same people who are intentionally dumbing down our kids also are trying to make sure their bodies are unhurt, and that they don’t get too much exercise?
      Sounds to me like they are trying to raise veal rather than strong capable self-aware humans.

  2. Swings are blamed for the most injuries of any play equipment.

    I think we all know the common denominator in child injuries.

    1. Your mother?

      (oops, wrong kind of question – disregard)

      1. Fist’s momma is so fat, a picture taken of her 10 years ago is still printing.

        1. Dot matrix printers. What can you do?

        2. Is John waiting by the printer.

          1. Nice.

    2. People throw out little factoids like this and pretend that it ends all discussion. It never occurs to them that something will always be the leading cause of x, or that in anyway you measure people there will always be a bottom . I honestly don’t know if they’re idiots pursuing a stupid cause or they just get off on forcing other people to live like they want.

      1. They’re miserable, and can’t stand to see anybody else enjoying themselves.

      2. Once the swings are gone, then we go after the next “leading cause”. Rinse and repeat.

        I seem to recall some factoid that 80% of household water use is in the bathroom (illustrating how wasteful we are), and P.J. O’Rourke commenting, thank goodness, imagine the mess all that water would make in the parlor.

        1. go after the next “leading cause”.

          I nominate see-saws, aka teeter-totters.

          Nothing but maiming machines.

          1. Do those still exist? All the playgrounds near me have removed all of the old good gear and replaced it with plastic bullshit.

            1. “Plastic”? You mean that stuff with *PCB*?!

              1. From PVC? Probably OK unless it is on fire.

                First wood was the thing for newer safer playgrounds. Those were actually pretty cool. But they used pressure treated with CCA in it and it had splinters, so that was no good. SO now it all seems to be plastic. I don’t know where you go from there except to go back to metal.

            2. Now that you mention it, the teeter-totters were likely the first to go, thus moving the swings up to “leading cause” status.

              1. No, they removed those big circular things…where you get bunch of littler kids on them and they love going around and around until some bigger kids decide to get ’em up to warp speed…panic, real screaming and little kids flying off. Hilarious, when you’re 10.

                Not that I ever did that.

        2. Remember when all we had to do to make the playgrounds safer was remove the seesaws? Then it was the monkey bars?

          (Though I’m sure the latter disappeared in some communities because of some faint racist connotation.)

          1. The mere existence of monkeys is racist.

          2. Someday soon, it will become fashionable among young adults to seek out and local “old-school” playgrounds.

            I would put money on it.
            I would build such a place and charge admission.

        3. Everything at the playground is dangerous. We should just replace all playground equipment with ipads and kids can play the swing app.
          Oh wait…
          http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2…..&ir=Canada

        4. Soon, recess time means children will be put in strightjackets and play in separate padded 8’x8′ rooms.

          Think of the childrunz!!

        5. The next leading cause: teachers.

    3. Wait, don’t tell me … Guns CHILDREN!

        1. Exactly! If we would just ban children, then there would be NO risk to the CHILDRUNZ! Why are we still allowing children at schools? Don’t you see the risk? Oh why, why, do you hate the CHILDRUNZ?

  3. I enjoy Lenore’s articles – glad she’s a part of the Reason repertoire.

    Unfortunately, chool boards “pushing back”, on their own initiative, on things that clamp down on chidren’s activity is a fiction. They’re usually a rubber stamp to the next point on the tightening ratchet.

    Parents need to stand up and pressure the board right the hell back to keep them if they want them. If they don’t care enough to act, so be it.

    1. Since when did school boards give a shit what the parents say?

      Our local school board won’t let the bus drive another few hundred feet to drop kids off at a daycare where many local parents send their kids, because the daycare is about a quarter mile into another town. Saying it would take business away from town daycare centers, they refuse to allow kids on the bus to go there, despite the fact that the bus turns around literally across the street from the place.
      The kicker is that none of the local daycare centers have any openings. That’s right. The school board won’t let the bus drop kids off at the out of town daycare to protect local daycare centers that don’t have openings.
      That means my wife is going to have to quit her job next year when the kid starts school.
      Fuck.

      1. A couple dozen families went to the board meeting, and they didn’t give a shit. They said they are protecting local businesses, despite the dearth of openings.

        1. School boards are the first stop for many of our newly hatched tyrants. It’s a springboard to city council and beyond.

          1. First, we kill all the school board members…..

          2. Schoolboards really can be the worst. There’s been a battle the last two years in my district over whether kindergarten should be full or half day. A board member actually said that students who only have half day wouldn’t be ready to enter college when they graduate because they’d never catch up. And he’s one of the more popular members.

            1. Good god, he needs to spend some time in a kindergarten classroom. What does he think goes on in kindergarten classroom that missing half of it would render a child an imbecile?

            2. So *that’s* why I never finished my Ph.D.

            3. Bullshit. I am as against schools boards as any good libertarian (see? here’s my card), but the real reason most kindergartens are now full day is because mommy and daddy want “free” childcare.
              While this may ultimately be a reflection of why a modern family needs two, instead of one, full time wage earners; this does not excuse the fact that many parents simply find it more convenient for their little snowflake to be in the custody of the school/indoctrination center for a full 8 hours.

        2. How does the school board figure that their job is to protect local businesses?

          1. It was one woman who blocked the change to allow the bus to travel another hundred feet. But the rest of the board backed her up. Her argument was that letting a couple dozen Springfield kids go to a Shelbyville daycare would put Springfield daycare centers out of business, even though they had no openings for the kids who can no longer go to the Shelbyville daycare. Every specific argument was thoroughly refuted, but she stuck to her guns. Because fuck you that’s why.

            1. Ok, so what’s the next step? It’s a handful of petty tinpot dictators. Surely the parents can devise a means to persuade them of the error of their ways.

              1. Turn up at the next meeting carrying a horsewhip.

                Of course that kind of thing always worked better out west of the Alleghenies and east of the Sierra Nevadas.

            2. No tyranny is more vigorously exercised than petty tyranny.

              1. Amen. The most officious “uniformed public servant” I’ve ever seen??

                Toll booth operator on the Centennial Bridge over the Mississippi at Davenport/Rock Island. Dude would risk getting run over to get the license number of somebody who missed the basket with their dime. He would stand in front of the cars, stopping traffic, and make people get out of their cars to retrieve their offering.

                Was always glad he wasn’t armed.

            3. Bump her up to city council like she wants, and let the school board vote again. Sure, she’ll power-trip on something else but at least your kids can get day care again.

            4. Maybe several parents could get together and hire someone to walk or drive their kids from the last stop to the daycare.

              1. Maybe several parents could get together and hire someone to walk or drive their kids from the last stop to the daycare.

                Nope. I’m pretty sure the bus has to drop them off at the home or business where they’re going to be for the next few hours or rest of the day. What you are suggesting could land people in jail.

                1. Scienfoology Song? GAWD = Government Almighty’s Wrath Delivers

                  Government loves me, This I know,
                  For the Government tells me so,
                  Little ones to GAWD belong,
                  We are weak, but GAWD is strong!
                  Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
                  Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
                  Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
                  My Nannies tell me so!

                  GAWD does love me, yes indeed,
                  Keeps me safe, and gives me feed,
                  Shelters me from bad drugs and weed,
                  And gives me all that I might need!
                  Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
                  Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
                  Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
                  My Nannies tell me so!

                  DEA, CIA, KGB,
                  Our protectors, they will be,
                  FBI, TSA, and FDA,
                  With us, astride us, in every way!
                  Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
                  Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
                  Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
                  My Nannies tell me so!

                  1. Guv-Mint LOVES you, just git yer Vaseline, bend over, an’ git OVER it, fer Chriss-SAKES, an’ QUIT yer BITCHIN’!!!! Be-Yotch Yew…

          2. Well, their relatives owned said business…

            1. That’s exactly it.

              1. Help your wife open a day care center on the bus line.

                That solves your wife’s employment problem and your day care problem.

                It leaves the petty tyranny problem but 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

                1. treat the symptoms and the disease will manifest itself another way.

                  also, isnt that how we got into this mess? holding our noses and saying ‘2 out of 3….”?

                2. Help your wife open a day care center on the bus line.

                  Thought about it, but it’s much easier said than done. Daycare is very heavily regulated, and barriers to entry are very high.

                  1. It’s probably illegal to open a daycare since it would “damage” existing daycares.

        3. so, vote them out?

          1. You gotta get people to care first. How else do even the scummiest incumbents get to keep their job 90% of the time?

            1. The people who benefit from that politicians’ presence on the school board, city council, state rep, all the way up to Congress, certainly care.

              Pathetic that that’s all it takes to keep an incumbent in power, when all can see the aggregate of putting these people together is bad (

      2. School boards used to live in terror of the local PTA, parents, and concerned citizens in roughly that order. Then the Feds started grabbing more and more authority over local primary schools. I’m not going to blanket condemn them; segregation , both explicit sub rosa certainly looked like a serious problem (though I was younger, and trusted Authority more then). But the results have not been good. And school boards packed with Professional Educators and full time Politicians who hold the ordinary citizen in contempt are one of the results.

  4. When I was in elementary school, we had a Maypole – a 8′ tall metal post sunk into the ground with concrete holding it in. Anchored on top were a series of chains with bars to hold on to. We would run around in a circle, grasping the chain and trying to gain as much air and momentum as possible.

    If some kid you didn’t like was in front of you, it was easy to chuck the chain and clobber him. Good times.

    The Maypole got torn down by the time I was in high school.

      1. I remember those things, they were great!

        A modern nanny-type looking at that photo sees nothing but Death Machines.

        1. I did see a kid go nearly horizontal on one that was really spinning, and he held on too long. When he finally let go, he went an impressive distance. And survived.

          1. All it needs is a Chevy small-block.

      2. Hey. Some innocent little kid could fall off that slide in the background.

        1. Which is why you don’t see tall slides anymore.

        2. My sure fire conversation starter: “My cousin Nancy’s husband got his head cut off on a slide at the zoo.”

    1. Those things were great. What fun!

    2. I fell off the jungle gym a couple of times. Sprained my wrist, big whoop.

      The funny thing is now you have all of these recess areas that are covered in moldy, nasty mulch instead of pebbles or asphalt. I’d rather have my kid get scraped up a little than rolling around in rotting detritus getting splinters.

      1. I was at the top of a jungle gym when I slipped and fell all the way to the ground, at which point my head bounced back and forth between two bars, smashing my nose to many many pieces.

        I wound up fine, and my dad has never laughed so hard since.

        1. Similar story to me watching one of my kids forget how to operate the brakes on his bike, freeze and roll right into a concrete wall. It happened so slowly and he so completely failed to…do ANYTHING, that I was hysterical.

          He also survived. Shame you never injured yourself more amusingly, for your Dad’s sale. Mine gave me a lot of amusement, bless ’em…though the boxing matches would probably be considered child abuse now days.

          wait…kids on lawn 160 degreses SSW brb.

      2. I’ve heard that some now use synthetic surface material (I don’t know if it is like artificial turf or something else). And that turned out to be worse than mulch or gravel as it caused friction burns.

        I say if a kid doesn’t acquire some sort of cut or scratch every day, their parents have failed.

        1. growing up my knees were ragged patches of healing scabs.

          1. Enough about your love life already.

    3. My local playground had a small-scale zip line. I still have the scar on my forehead.

    4. We had a pure steel, borg-looking monkey bar set-up. We’d race through that thing, weaving in an out of just metal squares of tubular bars.
      I just can’t fathom it even existing these days. Nevertheless, all is not lost since the reincarnation is these pretty cool rope 3D spiderweb things that seem fun if I was a quarter my current size.

  5. CHILDRUNZ IZ TOO FATZ! THEY NEED GET OUT MORE!

    CHILDRUNZ IZ TOO IN DANGERZ! KEEP THEM LOCKED UP MORE!

    1. Surely there’s a safe treadmill we could put them on. Compromise is an art, you know.

      1. If we attach the treadmill to a dynamo, they can produce renewable power for the same carbon footprint!

      2. safe treadmill

        NO SUCH THING!!! SCREEEEEECH!

      3. +1 Visual from “The Wall”

      4. Hamster wheels.

  6. We need government to protect us from killer swings!

  7. When I was a kid (first or second grade, which would’ve made this 1983 or 1984), a girl fell off the monkey bars. Broke both her legs. We were all herded inside, but the next day on the playground we were all out playing on the same equipment.

    Woe be it unto the school if that happened today.

  8. Dear Ms. Skenazy,

    Spend a couple of weeks at a Richland school with several hundred students and deal with the variously injured kids coming off the playground. Don’t bother attending to the various head bumps and assorted bruises? Then respond to the pissed-off litigious parents who will be in your office next day talking about lawyers.

    I know such stuff never happens in Internet Writer Land, but as is so often the case, the real world delivers consequences that we don’t like. Go out there and experience it, then write an article.

    1. The “you can’t have an opinion unless you’ve been there” line of argument is often used by statist apologists (particularly cop-fellators) to justify their actions.

      It’s not Lenore’s fault that you’ve put yourself in an untenable situation, Homple. Suck it up and deal with it, or find a better job. Lenore and everyone else here is paying for this through our taxes, so we’re entitled to comment. Don’t like that criticism? Go work in private industry.

      Shorter: Fuck off.

      1. Hey Tonio, my job has nothing to do with schools of any kind at all. You certainly aren’t reluctant to talk out your ass, are you?

        Are you trying out for the Olympic Conclusion Jumping team?

        1. So you’re saying you’re as qualified as Ms.Skenazy to opine on such matters? Why don’t you take your own advice and STFU.

          1. Actually, I know people currently being screwed over by a school injury lawsuit (not in Washington) and can understand a school district’s zeal to minimize such injuries.

            I do observe the real world in some detail as opposed to turning news stories into fodder for internet commenters.

            1. Just because one can identify the perverse incentives that result in these situations does not make the situations less fucked up or worthy of outrage.

            2. So it’s acceptable (inexorably, inevitably) for the “playground” our overweight, underexercised chirrens ‘play’ on is to be a flat surface, unencumbered by objects, so the children will not be tempted to INTERACT with anything (which can cause injury), said flat surface to be padded to a depth of…???

              No. That’s. Not. Good. I don’t care who sues who, it’s not acceptable. Something else should change, do you not agree?

          2. Well-said, Roger.

    2. Why wouldn’t she attend to the head bumps and bruises?

      1. Opinions are fine to have; unsupported by practical experience, they’re often BS.

        1. Opinions are opinions, the person stating the opinion has no bearing on the validity on the quality or applicability of the opinion.

          Rather than ad homming the author, why not refute the assertions from the story? You may actually get traction that way.

      2. She would in fact attend to the bumps and bruises, but that takes employee time that taxpayers (remember them) are reluctant to pay for.

      3. Union contract. They’re there to educate, dammit!

    3. “Spend a couple of weeks at a Richland school with several hundred students and deal with the variously injured kids coming off the playground.”

      Skinned knees! Bruises! The horror! The horror!

      1. The horror comes from complaining and litigious parents. The world ain’t Libertopia yet.

        1. “The horror comes from complaining and litigious parents. ”

          And assholes who take up their arguments, like you have.

        2. Whoa, complaints, this is serious. Show me a litigious parent re: a bruise. Please, just one…

    4. Homple – if parents threaten litigation over ‘head bumps and assorted bruises’ received as a result of normal playground activity, perhaps a more appropriate response is to prohibit their children from using the playground facilities.

      1. But I understand you aversion to the possibility of litigation. There can be no movement on this issue without serious tort reform and a strengthening of the principle of assumed risk.

        1. I’m all for tort reform and would be happy isfschools and everything else could get rid of litigious twats by simply saying “feck off”, but people responsible for organizations in real life can’t do that yet.

          1. What we really need is judges who will tell lawyers bringing these suits to get fucked and stop wasting their time. It amazes me some of the lawsuits that are allowed to go forward. The one where that non-sheep-fucking lawyer sued Reason because Warty is a bad person comes to mind.

          2. This is “Reason”, a Libertarian site. So, you don’t need to say “feck off”, you can just go ahead and say “fuck off”.
            Feel that? It’s called “freedom”. Doesn’t that feel nice?

      2. Or just expel the little horrors and tell the parents “you had your shot at tax-paid education for your spawn, and you blew it over some contusions. Now suck it up and go argue with the nuns. Keep a distance, I hear Sister Mary Borgia has a nasty temper.”

    5. WTF?!? Why do bruises needed attending to? Were you never a child?

  9. Another good article, Lenore. Thanks.

    BTW, did you ever get any of those requested followups from the school about the scary “man in a van” situation?

    1. I believe that was someone posting on her website, but yeah, I’d be very interested in how that plays out.

  10. A lot of crap gets blamed on “insurance”, and indeed as a business person, I also get lists of “concerns” from our insurance folks. Some of the things they would like to see in an ideal insurance world are squarely at odds with actually running a profitable business. So, we just politely explain that they will need to factor those things in to our coverage profile since they aren’t going to be changed. These are not things that would cause us not to get coverage, nor do they even seem to affect rates paid (they still need to be competitive to maintain our business) since they tend to be on the ridiculous end of the scale.

    Most of these idiots just use “insurance rates” as an excuse to get their control boner on.

    1. The superintendent I don’t think is being genuine. If swings were truly a liability scourge among insurers we wouldn’t see almost every school playground in existence equipped with a swingset.

  11. Related:
    I’m getting the side-ad on the left for “Pong” cel-phone cases; reduces radiation so I don’t have to worry about cancer!
    Well, *that’s* a load off my mind!

  12. Swings are blamed for the most injuries of any play equipment.

    And if you ban swings, some other equipment will be responsible for the most injuries. Being responsible for the most injuries says nothing about the dangerousness of the equipment. It doesn’t even speak to the relative danger of swings because the raw numbers don’t account for the use. Maybe swings are wildly safe compared to other playground equipment but are also much more popular and result in more injuries accordingly because they are used that much more. If I made a poisonous snake playground equipment and the terrified children never came near it, the swings would still injure more kids than the snake.

    1. “over here is the newly installed rattlesnake! The kids learn to move around like momma Obama wants, and it’s a nature learning opportunity!”

  13. If a student even draws a picture of a swing, they will be expelled.

    1. +1 Breakfast Pastry

  14. All children should be chriogenically frozen until we can figure out how to baby-proof the entire planet.

  15. “Swings are blamed for the most injuries of any play equipment.”

    That’s because nowadays playground equipment is made of marshmallows. The swings remain the only fun part for kids. Bring back the splinter-filled climbing structures and oven-hot metal slides.

    1. oven-hot metal slides

      Ah, I’d almost forgotten. What memories! 😎

  16. My son, when he was in second grade picked up the habit of swinging very high on the school swingset and when he reached the max height going forward, he’d drop out in a back flip and make a perfect landing. His teacher, who has always been one of my favorites, pulled him quietly aside, and asked him nicely to stop, because she told him that his friends would try it and hurt themselves. She let him do it when other kids weren’t watching.

    Now he’s a top springboard and platform diver. She always comes to see any dive meets that are local.

    1. But now his kids will be protected by the warm and loving embrace of evil-paved good intentions!

    2. That’s pretty good. I always used to jump off the swing at its highest point, but never dared go for the back flip.

      1. Backflips from the swing were a staple at my school. They’re actually amazingly easy. The timing just works out perfectly.

        1. OR you go a little too far and end up staggering backwards, at the mercy of vengeful returning swing.

          That was hilarious!

    3. I was (am) a pussy, so my favorite was to let my butt slip out, and have the chains grab my underarms, so I was, like parachuting! Still looked good to the ladies, although at 8, I wasn’t quite sure why I was supposed to impress the cooty-laden members of the distaff, except that, wow, they sure were pretty!

  17. I actually think the insurance system is how things *ought* to work.
    But maybe we should be willing to pay a little bit more in insurance premiums to let our kids have a bit more fun.
    How much will the school really save on insurance costs if they remove swings? Is it worth it?
    Or maybe the school could ask parents to sign a liability waiver with respect to swing sets.

    1. I like this idea. Ask the insurer how much extra it will cost to insure liability on the swings. Then go shopping for a new insurance carrier.

    2. This is logical, but there has been extensive consolidation of insurance underwriters and paying more is often not an option. Businesses (even those with no claim history) are having policies cancelled with no recourse.

      The insurance industry and their lobbyists, particularly in “forced” coverage situations bear responsibility for mountains of anti-freedom legislation.

      1. Rent-seekers exist in every industry, but understand that rent-seeking insurers aren’t a stain on the integrity of insurance as a bedrock institution upon which capital(ism) is built, it’s a stain on the integrity of the state for renting it’s power as it were.

        Businesses (even those with no claim history) are having policies cancelled with no recourse.

        There’s always more to it than that. Insurers don’t have an incentive (or legal ability) to cancel policies for no good reason. Clients that pay premiums and pose little chance of making claims are ideal customers for insurance carriers. If the insurer canceled someone’s policy mid-term (as opposed to non-renewal) it’s almost always because of breach of contract, failure to disclose vital information or maybe the insurer found out there were issues that needed to be addressed and the business owner just didn’t address it.

        1. Agreed regarding the state power abuse, which is essentially my point. However, this is becoming a predominant theme, and in cases where insurance coverage is mandated by the state (eg. ACA, auto) there is a clear conflict of interest.

          Cancellation laws and business recourse vary dramatically by state and increasingly underwriters are simply using broad activity characterizations to determine coverage (example – “research” is stated as a function). As you state, this is a basic concept of capitalism, and I accept this concept and respect the right of any business to select clients.

          1. However, this is becoming a predominant theme, and in cases where insurance coverage is mandated by the state (eg. ACA, auto) there is a clear conflict of interest.

            In the case of auto insurance that mandate is ostensibly usage based. i.e. “you want to drive on my road, you must be insured to the tune of $X.xx or have a bond promising a payout of $X.xx”

            However unjust government mandated insurance is, there is nothing unjust about property owners requiring insurance in order to utilize their property. The ethical problem here is that the “property owner” is the state who essentially stole the property and monopolized the network for which it makes mandates about it’s use.

            As for health insurance, the system we have is “insurance” in name only. It’s basically a cartel of semi-private producers of government welfare benefits.

            1. F.S. – agreed on all points.

              1. A rare enough thing among libertarians 😉

      2. Rent-seekers exist in every industry, but understand that rent-seeking insurers aren’t a stain on the integrity of insurance as a bedrock institution upon which capital(ism) is built, it’s a stain on the integrity of the state for renting it’s power as it were.

        Businesses (even those with no claim history) are having policies cancelled with no recourse.

        There’s always more to it than that. Insurers don’t have an incentive (or legal ability) to cancel policies for no good reason. Clients that pay premiums and pose little chance of making claims are ideal customers for insurance carriers. If the insurer canceled someone’s policy mid-term (as opposed to non-renewal) it’s almost always because of breach of contract, failure to disclose vital information or maybe the insurer found out there were issues that needed to be addressed and the business owner just didn’t address it.

  18. The playground at my kid’s elementary has monkey bars, but you can’t use them till you’re in 1st grade. No kindergarteners. And you can’t use them in any grade if you’re not wearing sneakers. No flip-flops, Crocs, sandals, etc.

    1. Wow. That might actually teach kids about “taking action to ameliorate risk”.

      Which is pretty wonderful preparation for, say, flying planes, going anywhere by boat, climbing mountains or even hiking off a paved trail.

      And something that the nannies seem to think is beyond children or adults to understand.

  19. They better not put park benches in those recess areas. SOMEONE COULD FALL!

  20. There is considerable research showing that exposing organisms to a little bit of adversity early in life makes them more robust later on. This is true for rats and mice and human children too.

    This is really what the function of playgrounds is. It’s an environment where children can take controlled risks. There’s the possibility of injury, but a very low likelihood that the injuries will be life threatening. Monkey bars never go high enough that a person falling will kill themselves. Just sprain an ankle or (rarely) get a hairline fracture. You can fall off a swing and maybe break an arm, but you’re probably not going to die. Compare that to the things kids would otherwise be playing with in the wild: climbing trees, jumping into rivers, exploring abandoned buildings.

    The whole point of a playground is to help the younger kids learn how to handle themselves, so they don’t die later when they are out hiking around in an uncontrolled environment.
    They aren’t going to learn those skills in a zero-risk environment.

  21. Taking away swings? What’s next? Alt-text?

  22. Restrictions on the type of equipment on public schools is another outgrowth of the education monopoly and heavy regulations the government has on schools.

    Government schools force children to attend, force all taxpayers to pay for them, force certain curriculums and force with only limited numbers of activities for all the kids. No chance for choice in the type of activities and the risk level of activities school offer.

    If schools were in a free market system, the kids’ activity levels at school and the risk involved in play activities (football, baseball, dodge ball, swings, trampolines, rock climbing, gymnastics, tumbling–you name it) would be determined by each school based upon what the market (parents) indicated they wanted for their kids. The market would likely differentiate all levels or risks or maybe the schools would offer different levels of risky activities and the parent could just sign off on the level they wanted their child exposed to. They would have a choice, they would take on the risk by signing waivers and that would be that.

    A free market in education could easily take care of this issue.

    1. They would have a choice, they would take on the risk by signing waivers and that would be that.

      The non-applicability of waivers is the fault of the court system that is monopolized by the state. If waivers could prevent a lawsuit or insurance claim, insurers would be able to be a lot more flexible about insuring riskier items, because essentially the users are assuming their own risks in lieu of insurance protection. Sadly these types of contract are scarcely enforceable after the fact.

      1. If waivers won’t do it, then a contract might. The education contract stipulates what activities Johnny will participate in. Then the school is legally obligated to allow the kid to participate in certain activities agreed upon before he attends the school.

        Markets can handle just about anything if allowed–even the lousy tort system we have now. Chances are, though, if the intellectual and political environment changes to allow a free market in education, tort reform will come, too, if not sooner.

        1. If waivers won’t do it, then a contract might.

          Waivers are contracts and even if you embed the waiver into a larger contract like a rental agreement or school enrollment contract, it can still be invalidated out-of-hand by a judge or arbitrator who can find said clause to be unreasonable. (though less easily done by arbitrators).

          Markets can handle just about anything if allowed–even the lousy tort system we have now.

          Well the legal market is forced to settle it’s disputes using a monopoly judicial system and even contract law where private arbitration is possible, is overridden by statutes and regulations with relative ease.

          I guess my point is that if contracts could stand on their own in the face of a state monopolized judicial system, we would have contractually abolished the state’s various tyrannies long ago.

  23. Walking helmets: I guarantee you they’re on the way.

    1. Hell, that would just give the boys a chance to play “Battering Ram”

      No, the only solution to the “safety” problems presented by little boys (as well as to prevent the “othering” of less energetic children) is estrogen…or some kind of testosterone-leveling programme (oops! spelling error-now we’ll have to get Brits to administer it, or Scots, I suppose.)

  24. How likely is it that swing accidents happen more because swings are more popular with kids?

    This entire exercise could simply shift the accidents to a different piece of play equipment.

    1. ‘zackly.

      It’s like the need to increase education funding “Because we came in 49th in spending per pupil!”

      Just as there is always justification for more spending because some state will be at the bottom, some piece of playground equipment will always be “The Number 1 cause of playground accidents.”

      Thus, inexorably, inevitably, the “playground” our overweight, overprotected, underexercized children will be given to play on will be a flat expanse, clean of any object with which a child might dare to interact (thus risking injury). It should be padded too-scraped knees, liability, blahdeblah…

  25. When I was in second or third grade or so this kid named Wade was running around with his arms out pretending to be an airplane when he tripped and fell on his face in the dirt. In the process he either bit his lip or smashed it on the ground, I don’t know, but you could clearly see two teeth sticking out through the flesh of his bottom lip. And blood everywhere of course.

    Seems to me complete immobilization is the only safe choice.

  26. We would have to chop down all of America’s trees as well?at least in parks and playgrounds?because some children climb them and fall off.

    Oh, don’t be silly. We don’t have to chop down every tree.

    Just start throwing parents in jail who let their children go too close to trees. Eventually, they’ll keep the children out of the trees for us.

  27. OMG !I can’t believe it ! Let’s sanitize children’s lives from any potential risk, adversity, and all reality for the sake of money !Great idea.(not!) Also, let’s give ALL children an award for not winning any form of competition b/c it might HURT THIER FEELINGS ! Then ,when these kids grow up and life doesn’t go their way, they can scream and shout, “Not fair ! We need to make laws so that I can succeed !” Yes, that’s a great way to treat kids ! What kind of message are we sending to them ? Let your kids live a little.Let them deal with minor unpleasantness so the don’t become egocentric, spoiled adults who can’t handle reality.

    1. I agree with most of your post, but “Let’s sanitize children’s lives from any potential risk, adversity, and all reality for the sake of money” isn’t quite accurate. Money is not the reason admins are sanitizing childrens’ lives. It’s all about accountability. The admins fear to death that they will actually have to make a decision, themselves; ones that can be, you know, traced back to them. This is the other side of “zero-tolerance”. As long as no admin has to actually make a decision, as long as everything is out of his/her hands, then that admin faces no repercussions for his moronic actions.
      It is the mind set of people who are drawn to government work: I have NO responsibility; I am merely a drone who’s day-to-day actions are controlled by others. I WISH I could make recess fun again, but the insurance companies. I WISH I didn’t have to suspend that student for chewing a pop-tart into the shape of a gun; but, you know, zero tolerance.
      I WISH that students weren’t required to undergo cavity searches every day, but you know, terrorism.
      “I was just following orders” is the rallying cry of NAZI’s everywhere.

    2. Why?

      “egocentric, spoiled adults who can’t handle reality.” has worked okay for their parents.

  28. So let me get this straight:
    The same people who are intentionally dumbing down our kids also are trying to make sure their bodies are unhurt, and that they don’t get too much exercise?
    Sounds to me like they are trying to raise veal rather than strong capable self-aware humans.

    1. Veal is totally SCRUMPDILLYICIOUS to out Bettors, yew PEON yew, KNOW yer PLACE, fer Chriss-sakes!!! Veal for the Government-Almighty-Anointed!!!! All others are “wreckers” and “saboteurs”… Are ye WITH us, or with that them thar TERRORISTS?!?!?

  29. playing outdoors: an activity that has included swinging since Tarzan’s time.

    Never mind, she’s rolling.

    1. Were the swings removed when Tarzan bombed Pearl Harbor??

  30. Even if there’s no playground equipment, children will still find unique ways to injure themselves. Accidents, even with strict laws and bans, will continue to hurt, injure, and kill children and adults.

    In the winter, our school won’t let kids play on snow covered surfaces(the playground or the fields) because of the fear of falling or slipping on snow. So they cram all these young kids on blacktop only and they run around colliding with each other in the confined space like a moshpit. Last year, my son got a concussion from some moron running into him. There were dislocated shoulders,broken arms, stitches, and other injuries from the blacktop only restriction…but hey, we wouldn’t want anyone slipping on snow.
    The risk of injury doesn’t go away, it just transfers. So keep the swings and maypoles. At least your kid will have a cool story for the scar vs. “I ran into a 3rd grader in the prison,er, recess yard.”

  31. Swings are not so much dangerous that it should banned. It may cause of injury but not serious one.
    http://diwaliwallpaper2014.in

  32. It’s pretty obvious that there are no swings, etc at the White House.

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