Parents’ fears for the safety of children in Egerton Park were realised on Monday when, it was claimed, a small child fell off a large wooden climbing frame resulting in “a serious fracture”.
Claudia Dance contacted the Observer to say: “This is not the first time small children have been seen falling off the frame, either from the ‘crow’s nest’ or the wooden steps.”
She wants to know who was responsible for the risk assessment, saying: “The council seemed determined to put up a climbing frame that is unsuitable for small children, yet the children who are capable of using it are too old to be interested.
“There are no signs (that I have seen) with age restrictions or suggestions. No doubt the tired excuse of ‘parental responsibility’ will come back from the Council, which is all well and good, except parents do have differing views on the level of the responsibility they are willing take, therefore it is only the children who suffer in the end. It is also a play area for children, enticing children to use the equipment. Whoever designed it either doesn’t have children or failed to talk to anyone who did.”
A Rother District Council spokesman said the equipment was subjected to an independent risk assessment carried out for RoSPA which found this item had a low level of risk. The play zone, which was designed in consultation with RoSPA, was “extremely popular” with families and children of all ages.
“While we have followed all relevant guidance, it’s impossible to make any item of play equipment entirely risk-free and we have to strike the right balance between minimising risk and providing challenging and stimulating play equipment that children want to use.
“RoSPA does not recommend putting up signs with age restrictions for particular pieces of play equipment, because children’s capabilities are not defined solely by their age, however there are signs asking parents not to lift children up onto equipment they’re not physically able to access themselves. All items of equipment in the play zone, are regularly inspected for maintenance defects.”