Imagine a teeter totter with four poles attached as legs. That's right. It would be a bench.
Now imagine a swing glued to a stump. Yup, it would be a chair.
Now imagine a merry-go-round that doesn't go 'round at all (merrily or otherwise).
Well, New York City residents don't have to use their imaginations, because that's what the city is doing to spinning discs at playgrounds. According to DNAInfo:
Rotating metal saucers that kids ride at two Park Slope [Brooklyn] playgrounds were recently welded into place so they can't move, and the city has made similar modifications or removed a total of seven disks citywide "in the interest of public safety," the spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman declined to discuss how many injuries had been reported or other specifics.
If there has been a rash of disc disasters (slipped discs?), they haven't made the papers. But of course, real injuries don't matter to bureaucrats and insurance agencies. Injuries that one can only imagine happening hold just as much weight as real accidents. And there's nothing that gets a paper pusher's pulse racing faster than the thought of child playing on dangerous equipment. Hence the quest to eliminate all risk from childhood (except, ho hum, the risk of depression, diabetes and obesity from kids never playing outside).
"This is just ridiculous," says Cynthia Gentry, founding director of the Atlanta Task Force on Play and a national advocate for kids playing outside. (Can you believe we need that now? We do.) "Maybe bed frames should be outlawed in the US because my three-year-old grandson fell out of his bed once. The bed is about the same height as the low end of this spinner. People are nuts."
They are, and here's the proof. To recap: Recently a special needs playground in Washington was destroyed despite a 10-year-record of no major injuries. Swings were removed from another Washington school district because they are considered dangerous. And last year, a brand new, state-of-the-art climbing structure built to national and international safety standards was installed in a suburban D.C. playground and immediately declared unsafe.
All of which is to say: If we let the government keep making more absurd safety demands, soon children will only be allowed to play on a hypoallergenic blanket atop a bed of marshmallows. One kid at a time. Lying stock still.