A mother from Arvada, Colorado summarizes what a playground designer told her local Parks Board about the safety of playground equipment:
There is such a permeating fear of lawsuits and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) that playgrounds are required to be as generic as possible, lest a lawsuit occur. There was great discussion about the $600 test each playground inspector must take every three years to be certified to be able to even inspect a playground, and the number of people we have employed just to complete inspections on the equipment in our city alone. Each playground is inspected every 3-6 months: every screw and nut is examined, along with the width of all the poles, and evidence of settling, protrusions, wear, etc. It takes several hours to inspect one playground thoroughly and completely.
Swings are still allowed, but the CPSC rules — ”which are treated as law” — are so stringent on how and where they’re installed, it’s almost not worth putting them in. It was so sad to listen to how the paranoia that has determined how playgrounds will be built, resulting in homogeneous, boring play zones for kids.
At the end of the discussion it turned out that in our town of roughly 100,000 people there has been a single lawsuit over the last 12 years regarding play equipment. A grown woman got stuck in a baby swing and couldn’t get out so the fire department was called to cut her out of the swing. She sued for humiliation. And now swings are becoming a rare commodity.