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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Metal Climbing Domes or Dumbs?

When I was a kid the parks in Brooklyn were much different than the ones my kids played on here in Roanoke. I loved climbing the monkey bars, and although dreaded being tossed from the see saw by a heavy friend onto a concrete surface, I couldn't get enough of them. My mother would tell me to wash the blood off my scraped knees in the water spout that usually was in the center of many parks. If I got hit in the head from one of the heavy metal swings it was my own fault for being stupid enough to walk in front of, or behind one, when some kid was attempting to reach the moon.

My kids have never climbed on monkey bars, gotten tossed off a see-saw, got hit in the head by or slipped off a metal swing, nor slid down a hot slide burning their butts. The biggest threat they faced was getting splinters from a wooden play set or mulch in their shoes.

When I was in Brooklyn recently I was reading about a state-of-the-art park that had recently opened near the Brooklyn Bridge, aptly called Brooklyn Bridge Park. Since my kids are teens now that wasn't on my must do list.

I was fascinated by one of the new features placed in it...metal climbing domes which are just that -- shiny, smooth, metal domes. According to this article, not many parents were thrilled with the domes..."because the metal domes get so hot on sunny days that kids cry when they touch them. "Within five minutes of being here, [my daughter] burned her leg," said Jennifer Bollard, 37, a mom from New Jersey who traveled to check out the much-hyped park with her kids, Julie, 3, and Jonathan, 7."

Yeah, that'll happen when the sun bakes hot metal. Keep in mind this was in April...imagine what it would be like in July or August! Not to worry, the powers that be came up with a solution by placing shade umbrellas over them. The problem with that is that the sun moves so within an hour or two the dome was hot again. Well, duh!

According to NY 1, they've come up with a better solution..."The new Brooklyn Bridge Park playground is back open for business after being closed for repairs due to safety concerns. Parents have complained that the park's metal climbing domes heat up in the sun, burning their children. Last week, the park was closed for two days to repair some holes in the playground surface. Workers also put tents up over the domes to keep them in the shade. Parents are pleased with the changes, but say they'll be cautious when allowing their kids on the domes."

Besides the opportunity to get scorched I wondered what "fun" a child would have on a metal dome. It's not like they really could climb anywhere, or slide down it, so what would be the point of installing them? What am I missing? Anyway, if the heat wasn't enough to want to keep your kids off these climbing domes maybe the picture of this little girl is...

According to the Daily News article, she broke her nose and lost a tooth playing on the domes. Maybe they should be called metal climbing dumbs. And they say monkey bars aren't safe.


  1. Funny stuff. We have lots of old and "unsafe" playgrounds here for the little ones to get retro bruises and scrapes.

    I'll never forget this little guy about 4 that we saw playing with his Dad at a park in vacation last year. The poor kid was sporting knee pads and a helmet--just for climbing and sliding. I think he had already been psychologically damaged forever.

  2. Gosh. I do wonder what they were thinking.