Free-Range Kids

Preschoolers Told Not to Play on Preschool's Playground Equipment

Slides were designed for kids 5 and up, and these tots are only 4.

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Swings
Nadezhda1906 / Dreamstime

Tots in a pre-school program in Nova Scotia can look all they want at their playground's equipment: they just can't, you know, play on it.

That's because the play structures are labeled for use by children age 5-12, and the pre-schoolers are ages 3 and 4.

That doesn't mean the equipment is a Monty Python-esque contraption of rotating knives, only that a cautious company labeled its slides and such as suitable for older kids, and the program is worried its insurance won't cover any kids injured on equipment not officially deemed for them.

But, as Playgroundology.com points out:

Let's remember that these school playgrounds are open to the public after hours and kids can play on the equipment as they choose regardless of age.

Kids have always played with equipment that did not have a specific age range attached to it. Hills, rocks, streams, and trees do not come with "ages 5 and up" warning labels. If something is too hard for three-year-olds to climb, they won't climb it—or they'll try to, and learn about bravery, taking risks, and maybe how it feels to fall. How can we expect to raise resilient kids when we don't trust their resilience, even on playground equipment fit for kindergarteners?

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41 responses to “Preschoolers Told Not to Play on Preschool's Playground Equipment

  1. How can we expect to raise resilient kids when we don’t trust their resilience, even on playground equipment fit for kindergarteners?

    Resilient kids may grow up to be less reliant on government! Won’t somebody think of the bureaucrats????

  2. Blame the playground designer for not knowing the code.

    1. Don’t blame the designer, blame the f-ing scumbag lawyers (but I repeat myself) and governmental busybodies (again, repeating myself) for the sticker. The school’s probably stuck following the sticker in order keep their insurance policy.

    2. Nah. Sounds like when the school bought the equipment they didn’t have kids that young. Bringing in 3 year-olds is the new thing, not the equipment.

    3. Well, its more of a guideline, really.

  3. We should just swaddle our children in government approved bubblewrap.

  4. Hills, rocks, streams, and trees do not come with “ages 5 and up” warning labels.

    I’m sure it’s on some EPA functionary’s to do list.

    1. “Find a forest near you.”

  5. “the program is worried its insurance won’t cover any kids injured on equipment not officially deemed for them.”

    This is easy, just solemnly tell the kids, “these things are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS and not worth any FUN you might have on them.”

    Then if the kids play anyway and get injured, tell the court they ignored your clear warnings.

    Sounds legally airtight to me.

    (disclaimer: May not actually be legally airtight)

    1. This is easy, just solemnly tell the kids, “these things are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS and not worth any FUN you might have on them.”

    2. Yeah. No. But then you know that.
      Time to find a better insurance provider. I hear Lloyds of London has some pretty comprehensive coverage.

    3. This is easy, just solemnly tell the kids, “these things are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS and not worth any FUN you might have on them.”

      You know that translates into the kid equivalent of “as soon as the adults backs’ have turned check this out immediately”.

      1. “Hitler”?

    4. What they really need are some legally immunized teens to stand at the edge of the playground with kickballs, dodgeballs, volleyballs, footballs (both American and European), to hurl at the 3 and 4 yr. olds to keep them off the playground equipment. Then, if a kid gets hurt playing on equipment they shouldn’t have been playing on, it’s clear who’s at fault and that they’re immune.

      (disclaimer: playground dodgeball is neither safe nor fun, don’t play it under any circumstances.)

    5. Actually, it is really easy.

      They can call up their fecking insurance agent and talk to them about it. Then they won’t have to worry – they’ll know.

  6. That doesn’t mean the equipment is a Monty Python-esque contraption of rotating knives

    I don’t recall such a Monty Python-esque contraption. Bananas, cows, fear, ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to The Pope I remember. No rotating knives.

    1. Oh, how I fondly remember my own youth, running through curtains of hanging rusty blades while throwing sharp sticks at each other.

      I envy todays kids so much for their many toys, but their relative lack of freedom, not so much. I’m inclined to lay the blame at the feet of Hillary “It Takes a Village” Clinton, but I suspect the slide was already happening, and I just wasn’t old enough to know what I didn’t get a chance at.

      1. Oh, how I fondly remember my own youth, running through curtains of hanging rusty blades while throwing sharp sticks at each other.

        Now that you mention it, pretty much every fifth home had an implement like this hanging around just begging for kids to play on it as well as a room or building like these (which were never locked) to play hide and seek in.

    2. Look for one titled “The Architects Sketch” or something like that.

  7. I read the article. It seems that prior to this year, the schools didn’t have such young kids. So it’s not even that there was an ordering SNAFU, it’s just that the pre-existing playgrounds weren’t age-appropriate to little-little kids.

    So I’m not sure what’s the problem. Not all of the school’s playgrounds are appropriate for the kids, and that means that if the kids play on them, the school’s insurance wont’ cover any mishaps. If the insurance doesn’t cover any mishaps, that means that a single pratfall could mean millions in damages. So it’s entirely reasonable for the school to prohibit such young kids from playing on those particular pieces.

    Should the school have made sure that there was at least one playground area suitable for the little-little kids? Sure. And the article sure sounds like it’s only a problem with some of the equipment. So unless it was deliberately misleading, that means that there are some playgrounds suitable for the little-little kids.

    So again, I’m not sure what the problem is. This is no different from Six Flags prohibiting kids below certain ages/heights from enjoying all the rides. The scale is different (even the big slide is no roller coaster), but the underlying principle (what will the insurance’s risk assessment lead them to cover) is the same.

    1. Except that there aren’t separate “playgrounds” with equipment suitable for different ages, there is one playground area containing all the equipment. If the kids go into the area, they are likely to use everything there. Even if they are told not to. Do they need to fence off certain items of equipment from others? The age labels probably were put on in an overabundance of caution. Probably the school should talk to their insurance company (and maybe other companies) about the situation. But yes, if the playground equipment in question has been used in the past by older children attending the school, then the story is misleading.

      1. “Except that there aren’t separate “playgrounds” with equipment suitable for different ages, there is one playground area containing all the equipment.”
        Got another source to back that up? It’s not supported by the linked article.

        What it does say, however, is things like “Off the shelf playground equipment installed in numerous schoolyards is labeled and recommended for use by kids in the five to twelve-year-old age range.”
        Note “numerous”, and the lack of “all”.

        Continuing through the article you find more references that the ban only applies to *some*, but not *all* equipment.

        As for talking to the insurance company, a quote from it is included in the article, so it appears that already happened and the “don’t let the little kids play on X, Y and Z” was the answer.

        And again, the linked article makes it clear that it is *preexisting* equipment and a *new* pre-pre-school program.

    2. “Not all of the school’s playgrounds are appropriate for the kids, and that means that if the kids play on them, the school’s insurance wont’ cover any mishaps.”

      The thing is – they don’t *know* this and it might not be true.

      The school couldn’t be bothered to call up to talk to their insurer. Even if it won’t cover it *as written* that doesn’t mean the policy couldn’t be amended to cover it.

      But the school was too lazy to do the work. They just shrugged their shoulders and said ‘of course the insurance won’t cover it’. But that’s not how insurers work in real life.

      1. Looked up another article on this to verify. It was SIP (the schools’ insurance) that brought the issue to light when enrollment requirements changed allowing 3 year olds to enroll.

        1. Cool. Then the school shouldn’t beat around the bush and just come out and explain why – not ‘we don’t think’ but ‘this is why’.

  8. Why would they need lame swings and shit when they’re all getting issued firearms for self-defense? Target practice should be all the recess they need.

    1. Grind that axe you lazy, entitled shitstain.

      1. There is no age limit on the 2nd Amendment.

    2. Why we have a Second Amendment.
      Tony imagines himself as one on the sidewalk looking on in approval.

  9. Just put a South Park style disclaimer at the front: “All equipment and games on this playground?even those based on real fun?are entirely for viewing purposes only. The playground contains dangerous safety hazards, and due to its content, should not be enjoyed by anyone.” Done. Asses covered.

    1. If a sticker placed on a piece of playground equipment can open one up to liability should it be disregarded, this just might work.

  10. Hills, rocks, streams, and trees do not come with “ages 5 and up” warning labels.

    Jesus Christ. Shut the hell up. Don’t give them any ideas.

    1. But there are jurisdictions where anyone under 5 has to be attached to a mommy.

  11. Can’t parents sign a waiver. “My Butch is allowed to play on all playground equipment” or “My Timothy must be segregated from all other children at all times because he may get hurt or bullied or triggered.”

    1. Well, that sounds fine in theory, but the parents might sign a waiver allowing the kids to do something that the power hungry administrators don’t want the kids to do.

      The only safe approach is to prohibit parents overriding the power elites. Except for the one time a parent, but the woman parent only, can sign a waiver to just go ahead and kill the kid.

    2. Sure. That waiver is “private school”.

  12. They should be working, not playing.

    1. Damn strait!

  13. Sounds right, man.

    Think of the children !

    1. Unless you’re Roy Moore, in which case think of something else.

  14. You know what else is dangerous for kids?

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