DCC looking into child's play accident

Latham Park was the site of an accident involving a small child last month. Photo by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.
Latham Park was the site of an accident involving a small child last month. Photo by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.
The Dunedin City Council is investigating after a small child fell off some playground equipment in Portobello and was concussed.

The incident occurred on June 30 at Latham Park. It was reported to the council on July 3.

Council parks manager Lisa Wheeler said the accident occurred when a child was playing on a piece of equipment that consisted of a mound with concrete tunnels through it, topped with a fort and slide.

The boy, aged 3, was crouched above the entrance to the tunnels that sits on top of the mound.

He lost his balance and fell into the concrete tunnel, hitting his head, she said.

The boy sustained a concussion and bruising.

Council staff had been in touch with the boy's mother after she informed them of the incident. The opening he had fallen through had been temporarily boarded up.

The piece of equipment had not been the site of any previous accidents since it was installed in 2007, Ms Wheeler said.

The equipment had been audited recently and no issue had been raised.

Since the incident, the council had returned to the auditor to seek further advice on whether anything needed to be done with the equipment.

There had not been a large number of playground accidents reported to the Parks Department, Ms Wheeler said.

First Aid

If a child has a cut foot, bathe the cut in Dettol, bandage and take to the doctor or AE for tetanus or antibiotic shots. Childcare is what parents do, without regard to any ideological worldview.

Petty waste of council time

I am left wondering who the mother would have telephoned to instigate an enquiry if the child had fallen off the deck at home? But my guess is, she would have just picked the kid up, dusted it off and assuming no harm was done, forgot about it.



The point being?

Craypot, no amount of supervision is going to protect anyone of any age from unseen dangers "such as glass or exposed metal sharps" which are dangers for anyone including the supervising adult, not just 3 year olds. "It's not ok to experiment by letting them run uncontrolled" - well, that must mean everyone, right? None of us should go outdoors without another person to supervise us, and that person needs someone to supervise him, and that person... and still. when the danger is unseen and impossible to predict, and any one of us/them could place a foot or a hand in that one dangerous out of all the places we could have stood or held on, what will be the result? Accident, it used to be called. Now it's someone's "fault" and there has to be an enquiry, and blame, and further restrictions on freedom, and a fair chance the unjured person will be able to claim free money (on top of ACC).

Missing the point

Hypothermia is missing the point. I agree with the sentiments but if, in the course of fun activity, a fall happens why hang it on the Council ..? Surely just accept the fact, but all the same just don't stand back and wait until it happens. Anyway a three year old still needs close supervision especially in a public playground. The dangers can be anything unseen such as glass or exposed metal sharps .. It's not ok to experiment by letting them run uncontrolled.

Playground accident

It's easier to point a finger at the DCC than to consider the remaining fingers pointing back towards the "accuser".  It was purely an accident and could have happened anywhere anytime to anyone, without any need to make anything of it other than to check that the equipment wasn't damaged in a way as to cause the mishap.  Not a biggie at all and I'm sure the child will have many other bumps and bruises as he grows up.

Smothering, for short-term safety

I couldn't agree less with craypot: "Any person not holding, or being very close to support a three year old child in a public park using the amenities needs to look very closely at themselves." It is theoretically possible to keep a small child safe at all times, but at what cost? A 3 year old is learning the physical skills that lead to being a competent 4 year old, and so on. And in the process there are challenges and risks, because without freedom of independent movement there is no way to build the muscles, tone the reflexes, evaluate situations and work on the ever-changing intersect of confidence, competence, and caution.

How could a child learn if he was safely carried by a parent or held so firmly that he could not fall, in the playground? In life as in business there is no reward without some risk. Risk must be managed, but please for the sake of all the children who survive unscathed and enriched don't over-manage it. Children have always fallen over, have learned at an early age what "dangerous" means. It's a good age to learn it, when there is a lot of bellowing and several real tears, a much better time than later when sheltered inactive youth experiments with risks sexual, chemical and automotive.

It is not easy for parents to get it right between freedom and protection. One case of a child injuring himself badly is very unfortunate for that child and his family. The removal or alteration of all playground equipment that could conceivably be used in such a way as to result in injury would be no improvement. Adventurous children will always find novel ways to explore their environment, whether it is a specifically "children's" place or home or street or park or anywhere else. The need for safety must not weigh more than the need for children to grow as people. They cannot do that from the safety of a sofa with experience coming to them on a screen, not even if it's 3D. [abridged]

Responsibility !

Any person not holding, or being very close to support a three year old child in a public park using the amenities needs to look very closely at themselves.

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