Free-Range Kids

New York City Welds Playground Equipment So It Doesn't Move


Luiz Carolos / Public Domain

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.

NEXT: A. Barton Hinkle on Eric Garner and Police Abuse

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  1. Oh, FFS! What are they going to do when some kid gets hurt on their *stationary* shit? Unweld it?

    1. Pad it. They will put padding on it. And require helmets and knee pads and elbow pads and seat belts. Never forget seat belts. Is your seatbelt fastened?

    2. They will deem play “dangerous”, get rid of all the playground equipment, and close all city parks to children under 18 years old.

  2. I know, we’re not allowed to talk about New York. So we’ll just whistle past this anomaly.

    1. Bullshit.

      There is no code of silence over the nanny state!

      1. Code of Silence….?


        This is how you market the hottest new statist approved playground!

        I’d like to welcome you all to the happiest place on earth….TONYLAND!

        Have a great time and hey….be safe!

  3. I miss my childhood. Second degree burns on metal slides in Florida,spinning kids on that merry go round thing as fast as you could until they puked… what fun is it all now?

    1. Don’t forget pumping the swing as high as you go and then jumping out of it.

      1. At least that one’s still possible. I’ve been showing my daughter how to jump off the swing lately.

        (This isn’t going to cause a CPS investigation, is it?)

        1. NSA has bigger stuff going on right now. Like its investigation of the porn sites you’ve visited.

        2. I tried to teach my four year old how to jump off the swing, ended up crashing to the ground myself. apparently I’ve forgotten how

      2. I used to hope I would get a little bit hurt doing that. In fact, that was true of lots of things. Bumps, bruises, scrapes, scars…in my mind these were badges of honor that proved I was having a good time. I used to be pissed off that I never had a major broken bone. I thought I was doing childhood wrong.

        1. I certainly felt that way in the latter part of my 20s and still a little now.

          Like I stop feeling human if I don’t see or taste at least a little bit of my own blood for years on end.

          Growing hair on my kneecaps was depressing.

          1. Yeah, I should have defined “childhood” as up to and including 31 years old. Although I recognize I’m not healing quite as quickly as I used to.

            1. And I still enjoy trolling my Mom a little bit by pointing out all the ways I could get hurt doing the things I do. She worries too much.

              1. My brother and I were each others’ greatest threat to survival.

                Neither of us could ‘peak the needle’ with Mom individually as well as we could together.

                And now that she has a mess of grandsons with the same behavioral traits, she’s achieved the same worry-zen that Grandpa seems to have had all along.

                The wives/aunts on the other hand…

        2. I remember a kid getting a broken bone, an arm I believe, on a play ground. When he came to school with his cast, he was treated like a fucking hero.

          1. And everyone signed the fucking thing.

      3. I still jump off the swing when I go to the playground with my daughter. Haven’t gotten her to try yet.

        I used to do back flips of swings until one time I started the flip early and scraped the skin off the top of my head. Never got back on that horse.

        1. That’s the thing, kids need to test their boundaries *while* they are kids. You bounce better when young and heal pretty quickly.

          1. This weekend I built a snow slide for the kids. My front yard is at first floor level, and then there’s a hill that goes down to the backyard at basement level. I piled up the snow and made a slide that drops like ten or twelve feet almost straight down before sending the person shooting out into the back yard. The five year old was standing by the slide and asked “What do I do Papa?” I said “Jump!” So she did. And she had a blast. Good thing mom wasn’t home. She would have been horrified.

            1. This will be me. My wife wants to keep my kids from being hurt, I on the other hand, am only trying to prevent permanent injury.

            2. Snow is so epic for kids. That’s awesome! Daughter #2 just had a kid – she’s about 7 months now. Can’t WAIT till she’s a little older so grampa can show her how to sled down the hill at the graveyard and make it under the fence at the end.

              Sledding is epic. Shagging rides on car bumpers on snowy roads not allowed till she’s a teenager…

              1. The five year old sledded down the slide into the backyard, straight at the picnic table. I had just done a run with her that went straight for the well, and I bailed off. Told her to do the same if she was headed for something dangerous. What did she do when she went at the table? She laid on her back and went under it! Anyway, I moved the table after that. That one scared me a bit. Don’t need a decapitated kid.

                1. OMG that is so awesome. Have fun! AND…BE CAREFUL!

                  lulz – raising kids is almost as fun as being one. Well, not really, but….it’s fun.

                2. “Don’t need a decapitated kid.”

                  [insert joke about political career]

                  Seriously, though, I agree.

              2. Shagging rides on car bumpers


                1. YEAH BABY!

              3. We called it hooky bobbing.

                1. on Long Island that’s “skitching”

              4. AKA ‘Bumper Jumping’

      4. We jumped out of the tree house into piles of leaves all afternoon once… until my mother saw what we were doing and put and end to it… until there was a blizzard, and then we found that snow worked even better than leaves.

      5. Our entire swing set would move when we went too high lol.

      6. Hell I remember “dogfighting” on the swings. That’s where you and the guy next you try to kick and/or get your legs locked together so you can push or throw the other guy out of his swing onto the hard packed dirt (or asphalt) below. Other people may have had a different name for it.

        1. Loki, we did this on the monkey bars (though we called it Chicken).

          Climb out to the bars and kick the other kid as hard as you can in the gut and knees to make him fall.

          That shit got real the first time my buddy wrapped his legs around the waits of another kid and squeezed until his opponent fell. Brilliant.

    2. Growing up, we had slides with no flat metal on them. Just a staircase on the one side and two rounded rails on the other to hold the staircase up, 15-20ft. high. You hooked your arms and legs over and slid down, then, 5-10 ft. off the ground, you let go. Kids would stand with various parts of your body between the rails and duck or jump as others kids went sliding past.

      I have no idea how we survived.

    3. All you have to do with those disc things is get one person to get it started, then move back and forth from the middle to the edge to get it going faster & faster. Fuck, that was some fun shit. Especially in the snow.

    4. Yes. Being turned loose in a large urban park and allowed to construct forts, play whatever games we liked, and negotiate whatever territorial agreements were needed to keep the peace between older and younger cohorts doing the same.

    5. Ever go down a wooden slide. I saw one once, but can’t remember if I went down it. It looked like a great way to get a splinter.

  4. I wouldn’t be so quick to demonize the insurance companies in this case. Their actuaries don’t just look at the risk of injury from a toy like that but the probability of a successful lawsuit and the forecast damages. Holding parents more accountable for theirs and their children’s actions and reducing the number of specious lawsuits would go a long way to lowering those insurance costs.

    Hell I love insurance. It serves an important purpose in disseminating information. I even sell a form of insurance, I sell options. The government should start to look more critically at the lawsuits driving the high premiums as opposed to the playground equipment itself (SLD about government funded playgrounds etc.)

    1. “The government should start to look more critically at the lawsuits driving the high premiums as opposed to the playground equipment itself (SLD about government funded playgrounds etc.)”

      I think the clause in parenthesis pretty much defines what you suggest in the earlier sentence.
      Privatize them and let them compete through hold-harmless contracts with the parents.

      1. Ideally this would fall under common law but sense common sense is not so common I don’t expect common law to be either.

    2. Lenore, does NYC actually carry liability insurance? Asking because I know that some levels of government are self-insuring (or more precisely, not insured).

  5. All we need is for The Special to find the Piece of Resistance.

    1. +1 kragle

  6. In Cleveland they will shoot kids playing in a non approved manner

  7. I wonder if selling kids’ fire-retardant pajamas with flames on them (like a hot rod) would be banned?

    1. You know how bad it would look if you were selling kids ‘Hot Pants’?

    2. Fire retardant things not made for actual firefighting just melt and burn you horribly as a rule.

  8. Ummm…why not just remove the rotating metal saucers?

    Who fucking decides that it makes more sense to weld them in place?

    1. Somebody looking to direct revenue to someone else.
      Whether it be park workers or outside contractors, somebody was being paid to find somebody to pay to do this work.

    2. Because it still looks like a playground – that’s all that matters.

    3. Because welding them in place is a lot fucking cheaper and can be done a lot more quickly.

      They will then serve as an ongoing reminder of a better, less idiotic time. Plus, the welds can always be cut if calmer heads prevail. Also…”vandalism”.

      1. Plus, the welds can always be cut if calmer heads prevail.

        Given statists think they are smarter than both any humans to have ever lived, as well as all humans not yet born (as they firmly believe in the permanency of their ideas), this was wholly unintentional.

  9. “Welcome to the New York Playground Museum. In the old days, children would play on this equipment…”

    [Tourists whip out their devices and record]

    1. [Tourists also *GASP!* at the risky behaviors of their forebears!]

      1. Some kids used to play !gasp! Bovine-subjugators and Native Americans…and others Peace Officers and Societal Non-normatives…!gasp!…using their digits in inappropriate ways that defy demonstration [because I certainly don’t want to lose my job demonstrating or even describing verbally in any meaningful way just how those little fingers became weapons with traumatizing capabilities…]

        1. Bovine subjugators? Really? and Societal Non-normatives?

          Shouldn’t you be posting this over at the article on banning porn in the UK?

  10. Instead of calling in the welders, pass laws precluding liability suits for non-defective equipment, even if someone’s snowflake gets injured.

    1. But I followed links to find this action is in response to a lawsuit filed after “an infant over the age of 14 years” was injured on one of those things, and then the plaintiff established that their design was defective, apparently because they would turn.

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    1. I love this. Apparently, this dude made $3491 in the other two days in November.

      1. Speaking of stupid fucks, the POTUS made 400k last year as he will this year plus another 50k for expenses, in spite of the fact that he gets to live in a mansion for free and fly around in a 747 for free at his fucking whim.
        This pales to what will happen after retirement when he signs a bazillion-dollar book deal for a memoir that a ghostwriter will write that exaggerates every non-accomplishment into humanity-saving heroics and goes on a lifelong speaking gig with fees so high that only greedy people like the Koch Brothers could demand.

  12. Liberals are wimps

  13. God, I love these childhood threads – cause I get to be Old Man and reminisce.

    About playing on…wait for it….NEW HOUSING CONSTRUCTION IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD! Oh, yes, every one of them with a BASEMENT, which required a cinder block FOUNDATION on which we’d walk and balance and try not to fall TEN FEET INTO THE MUD PIT AT THE BOTTOM till they put up the WALLS and FLOORS….but no STAIRCASES, so when you ran around – esp at dusk – you had to be careful not to fall through a HOLE into the same TEN FOOT PIT….

    God, I loved playing in new construction.

    The tire tracks from the trucks dumping the fill dirt from the basements created “The Dusty Road” that we kept open by riding our bikes on it EVERY DAY….and the mounds of fill dirt became “mountains” we rode over and played army in.

    What an epic neighborhood. They just finally completed the block about 5, 10 years ago, so now my mom’s house backs up against neighbors. Finally.

    Good times!

    1. the mounds of fill dirt became “mountains” we rode over and played army in

      YES! King of the mountain was AWESOME on those, because if someone got going they would roll the whole way down.

      1. We used to play “King of the Hill” in elementary school by grade using the MOUNTAIN of snow plowed up from the parking lots. It was probably 8, 10 feet high when they got done.

        So much fun. That would be all recess, just wearing ourselves out trying to get up that damned hill and push other kids off.

        1. When I was in elementary school, KotM was awesome (esp. in Michigan, with our massive snowfalls.) Then some reccess Aide (a cow both too dumb and not dumb enough for actual bureaucratic work) decided we can only plan if we keep our hands in our pockets or arms crossed over our chests.

          … massive elbowing and headbutting ensued.

    2. New housing construction as a kid…piles of dirt left from digging the basement made perfect ramparts from which we had numerous dirt-clod wars (that’s like a snowball fight for northerners).

      Was fun right up until I lost an eye in 2nd grade.

      But my parents didn’t sue anyone. Not the kid who hit me (even though he called “time-out” right before he threw the fateful clod of dirt). Not the contractor. Not the landowner or homeowner-to-be.

      Irony: if I hadn’t carefully set aside my brand new glasses so as to not break them, I probably would not have lost the eye…they had polycarb safety lenses. But I had been scolded often about breaking my glasses…

  14. Through all of high school we played back yard football every Sunday. Tackle, with no protective gear. I think the most serious injuries were some broken bones or a bum ankle. It was awesome. If someone didn’t bleed a little bit it wasn’t a good game.

    1. OMG, yes, THIS too. I broke my thumb and we had a couple other things like that – that was pretty much it.

      Go to school just beaten and bruised on Mondays. God damn I loved playing football. Way more than baseball or basketball (the other two biggies in our ‘hood – no one played hockey, for some reason).

      1. Street hockey was another big one. But we were comparatively gentle, no checking, no boards. I did wipe out on some loose gravel going back to my friends place one time, though. He wouldn’t let me in the house because I was bleeding too much. What a dick.

        1. “I ain’t got TIME ta bleed!”

    2. We did wear helmets. Badge of honor was hitting so hard you broke yours. I broke two…probably why I’m dain bramaged now…

      1. At least you don’t vote for proggies. Evidently not braindamaged enough.

    3. I think the most serious injuries were some broken bones or a bum ankle. It was awesome. If someone didn’t bleed a little bit it wasn’t a good game.

      I probably broke 7 or 8 bones playing pickup football. Fortunately for me, none of them were mine.

    4. The worst injury I ever got playing tackle football with no pads was a concussion. I got tackled along the sideline and as luck would have it there was about a 4″ long, half inch diameter bolt lieing there in the grass where my head came down.

  15. You know, I think about it now, the neighbors never said a WORD about us kids playing on the construction. Now they’d all be calling CPS to have us taken from our parents…

    Back then – no one cared. “Just kids playin’….”

  16. Influenza sucks. That is all.

    1. 🙁 It hasn’t started hitting here yet. Hope you feel well soon…and that my vaccine works.

      All the best!

      1. My second time rolling snake eyes. I get the vaccine every year (for the past 20 or so). This year, there is a strain running around that is not covered by the vaccine.

        1. Sue the fucking vaccine. Jesus!

  17. Wonder why there’s all this childhood obesity apparently going around when everyone’s busy trying to ensure their special snowflakes are never put in any situation with the potential for injury.

  18. So, I’m the only one who instantly thought of this?

  19. Insurance companies won’t insure, because of huge payouts, due to ridiculous court decisions, due to juries, incited by trial lawyers who get 20-50% of the take. Which party do trial lawyers tend to vote for again?

    All simply links in our wonderful corpora-fascistic state.

  20. Imagine a teeter totter with four poles attached as legs.

    How would you Iike to be a spotted eIephant? Or a choo-choo with square wheeIs on your caboose? Or a water pistol that shoots jelly?

    We’re all misfits!

    Would you like to be a bird that doesn’t fly? I swim! Or a cowboy who rides an ostrich? Or a boat that can’t stay afloat?

    We’re all misfits!

  21. Progressives go out of their way to outlaw any activity that children find entertaining and always say it is to protect the public. Funny that they enjoyed the very activities as children they seek to ban as adults. when I was a kid Evel Kneivel was king. We used to set up ramps and jump our bikes over trash cans arranged in a line. I set the record by jumping 15 metal trash cans… 16 cans ended in a crash similar to Evel as Caesar’s Palace. My point is we all survived and had some great stories to tell. Progressives all have one goal, suck out of life the very things that make it worth living..

    1. “they enjoyed the very activities as children they seek to ban as adults”

      I wonder if that is true.

      I was a timid child. . . didn’t swing very high, never jumped off the swings, never hung upside down on the monkey bars.

      Although I didn’t turn into a raging progressive when I had children, I did have to make a conscious effort to let them do stuff that would have scared me.

      Maybe that innate timidness leads many into progressiveism. Would also explain the whole speech code thing.

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  23. “Maybe bed frames should be outlawed in the US…”

    Hey, when I was ~3 or 4 I tried to take a running leap from the doorway of my room onto the bed. I didn’t make it, and hit my chin on the edge of the bedframe, splitting it open and requiring multiple stitces. IF ONLY WE’D HAD COMMON SENSE BEDFRAME REGULATION BACK THEN!!!11!!11!!!!!

  24. Vanderbilt Playground is at the end of my street. I take my sons, aged 2 and 4, to that playground all of the time. I was there a couple of weeks ago and I noticed that the spinning thing was locked, but I assumed they just locked it for the winter season or something. This is a huge bummer. All of the kids at that playground really loved that thing.

    1. What has been welded can be un-welded. Possibly, at 3 am. Just sayin’.

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  26. It can’t be a bed of marshmallows. They’re too high in sugar, and are probably loaded with HFCS. Are they vegetarian marshmallows? Also, it will upset the parents if the kids get sticky from the marshmallows.

  27. People were using the back tire of their motorcycles to spin those discs at freeway speed.

  28. I fully expect that soon the green bikes will be welded in place to prevent injury to folks who might chose to ride them. That way, people can see the good intentions of the state without having to risk life and limb in actual traffic. A person can sit on the bicycle and imagine how it MIGHT have felt to have been ecologically “correct” without leaving the safety of the bike wrack.

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