Local News

Survey Suggests State's Playgrounds Are Dangerous To Children

Posted June 14, 2000

— A newsurveyfrom a nonprofit group in Chapel Hill suggests there are hazards lurking at many of the state's public playgrounds.

Deanna Pate puts safety at the top of her list when she puts her kids on a playground.

"If they get hurt, then they stop wanting to take chances on their own. I'm looking for them to be independent children," Pate says. "You need Mommy every once in a while, but be able to get along their own as well."

TheNorth Carolina Public Interest Research Groupsays your neighborhood playground probably needs to be safer. According to the group's guidelines, 96 percent of playgrounds surveyed could be dangerous.

In Wilson, WRAL found a slide that is nearly a foot and a half taller than the recommended six feet maximum. The group also recommends nine inches of loose material to break falls under equipment. A playground in town had no material. The swings were found to be 20 inches apart, four inches closer than recommended.

The brand-new equipment at Brogden Primary School in Wayne County replaced the old playground. After the old equipment was moved for an expansion, school leaders decided it would be unsafe to put back in.

"In some places, it was bent and rusty. It had been here probably 25 to 30 years. It just was not safe," says principal Brenda Wilkins. "I would not put my child on it, and I would not want someone else's on that equipment."

The group says it also found problems in Raleigh, Cary and Chapel Hill, however there are no laws being broken with the playgrounds.

Town officials in Wilson say the playgrounds there are legal and safe. They say they need to hear more about the group's recommendations before they make any changes.


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