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Safety First?

By admin | In Health & Lifestyle | on July 26, 2011

When it comes to the pursuit of fitness, you’ve often heard us trainers stress “Saftey First.”  However, is there such a thing as being too safe?  The New York Times did a great piece recently called “Can a Playground Be Too Safe?” questioning today’s emphasis on safety and its potential adverse affects on children.

Remember the playgrounds you grew up with high see-saws, monkey bars, ropes, jungle gyms, and apparatuses that allowed you to climb just a little too high?  Nowadays you’d be hard pressed to find a playground that even had monkey bars or ropes.  Heck, most don’t even have pull up bars!

You see the adverse affects in today’s elementary school children and their physical education programs.  Almost none of them climb ropes, do pull ups, or play on gymnastics rings.  Troy mentioned the other day that his dad wasn’t very impressed with muscle ups since he had grown up doing them simply as a way to get on the rings…so that he could do even cooler tricks.  It was just part of his PE program.  Nowadays that would be unheard of.

Psychology professor Ellen Sandseter says,“Children need to encounter risks and overcome fears on the playground…[They] approach thrills and risks in a progressive manner, and very few children would try to climb to the highest point for the first time they climb. The best thing is to let children encounter these challenges from an early age, and they will then progressively learn to master them through their play over the years.”

Sure, injuries can occur.  The article remarks that it’s still rare that playground injuries “cause permanent damage, either physically or emotionally.”  The true culprit is the overly litigious society which we live in.  Fear of lawsuits have driven all the fun from playgrounds and have made them so toddler proof that a 4 year old may tire of the overly simplified and sterilized parks.  Or worse, older children later fear simple physical obstacles because they never challenged themselves before and don’t know their capabilities or limitations.

What was your favorite playground equipment?  Was there anything you found scary or challenging?  Any big injuries or events that scarred you for life?  Post to comments!


WOD 07.26.11

Press 3×5 or Wendler

NLI Qualifier #3
As Many Reps As Possible in 10 Minutes of:
Kettlebell Snatches (53/35#)

Rest 4 Minutes

As Many Seconds As Possible of:
L-Sit (on paralletes)

OR

3 Rds:
10 Deadlifts (65% 1RM)
40 Double Unders
5 Muscle Ups (sub 10 Ring Dips)

12 Comments to "Safety First?"

  • jeff says:

    July 26, 2011 at 10:24 AM -

    Between the ages of 10-12 I lived near school that I could hang upside down from a pull up bar!!! I read this article from the times about a week ago and my memories reminded me of all the equipment we could enjoy…

  • Michael H says:

    July 26, 2011 at 11:05 AM -

    Ah the good o’days, I remember the cold hard steel we used to play on, from the honeycomb jungle gyms, monkey bars, and the 5 story teetering rocket ships.

    BTW got any medium shirts ?

    1. ruth says:

      July 26, 2011 at 11:15 AM -

      Omg, the 5 story teetering rocket was my favorite!!! My second fave was hanging upside down from pull up bars pretending I was Nadia Comaneci (totally dating myself). I fell quite a few times but other than losing a few arithmetic dedicated brain cells, I wasn’t traumatized!

      @Mike lots of mediums and larges. Only one XL left, reorder in progress!

  • Nik Werre says:

    July 26, 2011 at 11:34 AM -

    Scarred for life stories:

    Got stung in the face by a jelly fish. Never diving under waves again.
    Forever afraid of soap dishes in showers. Slipped and fell on a broken one, 16 stitches from that sucker. Won’t look at showers the same again

    Ironically, I never got hurt playing on the jungle gym doing cherry bombs (hanging on with legs only, spin, and flip off) or anything. Or skateboarding, no helmet and jumping down stairs and what not. Then, I break my foot running for football. Hmm…

    1. ruth says:

      July 26, 2011 at 11:41 AM -

      Cherry bombs!! That’s what they’re called!

  • Tyler says:

    July 26, 2011 at 12:54 PM -

    Only the few El Segundo lifers will remember this one….

    Back in the day, they used to have this huge spider web sort of tower climbing apparatus at the park at the top of grand where that pool is (near the water tower). You could go swimming then climb up the mess of rough and tattered ropes, it must have got up to 25 feet at the top. We would wrap our towels around the ropes and make probably the most unsafe sunbathing hammocks ever. Only a slip away from falling 20 feet on to the hard sand. Best thing ever, they need to rebuild that thing. It would toughen up these ES pansy kids I see running around these days.

  • Stephanie says:

    July 26, 2011 at 1:09 PM -

    We used to have ropes at school that you could climb that were atleast 20ft tall if not more. Different height pull up bars that we would spin forward numberous times or spin backwards and drop off. Balance beams, rings and freakin tall monkey bars where you would compete to see how many you could skip in one swing.
    Ah the good ol days where you could fall on your head, get up and keep playing.

    1. Sean says:

      July 26, 2011 at 2:46 PM -

      I enjoyed climbing to the top of the jungle gyms, seeing how many times I could go back forth on the monkey bars or skipping every other bar, and the apparatus that you could hang from that slid from one side to the other TMNT style (ironically the only piece of equipment I recall hurting myself on at a playground).

  • the Pooj says:

    July 26, 2011 at 3:22 PM -

    swings.. and attempting to go full circle over the top! little did i know that its impossible. never hurt to try though :)

  • Holley says:

    July 26, 2011 at 3:56 PM -

    My school had the coolest playground in the area, friends that went to other schools were always so jealous. We also had tire swings, 10 tire bouncers, zip lines, tarzan ropes, etc. all made out of tire that were so much fun. I still loved the monkey bars and trying to skip the most bars, one time I skipped 4 bars! My other favorites were the bars where we could do back hip circles and trying to run up the twisty slide. Somehow I don’t think I ever ended up with major injuries from the playground.

    One day the school decided it was hazardous to play on the tire toys so they tore it all down. My mom got put in charge of rebuilding the playground and I remember she had so much trouble trying to design the new one because so many of the options were “too dangerous” according to the school board.

  • Nick says:

    July 26, 2011 at 6:05 PM -

    All I can remember is racing Big Wheels down hills with no shoes. Perfectly safe.

  • Troy says:

    July 26, 2011 at 9:35 PM -

    I don’t know why everyone was saying when they were little only… just a few weeks ago me and my friends were playing stick ball at the park and decided to play on the swings and jump off for distance, the ground is now covered in this weird rubber cement instead of sand and a a un even concrete ledge like it use to but it’s still fun.

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