Kids Burned On NZ Play Equipment

Why is it that in New Zealand councils seem to think that putting signs up is the answer to dangers in play parks?

You’d think after the scalding death of the little Toromon in Rotorua’s Kuirau Park, councils would have learned that signs are not enough where the safety of  young children is paramount.

This was in today’s Herald

A small boy was left with second-degree burns to his feet from playground equipment heated by the sun.

David “Noah” Jones, 2, needed hospital treatment after climbing on metal rails at the Wesley Community Centre in Mt Roskill on Tuesday.

His mother told the Herald

My friend heard him screaming and saw him standing on the ground and he was standing like he wanted to lift his feet off the ground. He kept saying, ‘It’s hot! It’s hot!’

“When I got there a minute later the skin was hanging off his feet.”

She said she did not see what her son was climbing on, but believes it was a climbing frame with metal bars.

Air temp that day was 27 degrees Celsius, not exactly a baking hot day.

It seems that other toddlers get burned in NZ playgrounds and its highly likely that Safekids only gets to hear about a few of them.

Safekids New Zealand is the national child injury prevention service, and a service of Starship Children’s Health. They told the Herald that other children have also been burned. We think there are probably many other cases they aren’t aware of because not every parent seeks hospital treatment for their child.

Safekids New Zealand director Ann Weaver said each summer her organisation saw a case of a child being burned by playground equipment.

“But we’ve never seen someone burnt by climbing rails. There have been examples where kids have been severely burnt on a slide, and needed hospital treatment. They are always kids aged between 18 months and two years.

And what is the council’s solution?

“The council was looking into the incident and would consider adding warning signs.” Read the full report here

What’s so wrong with providing shade? Not only would it prevent contact burns but it will also protect kids from UV burns;  NZ has the world’s highest rate of melanoma.

But Auckland Council may be well aware of that overheating is being caused by lack of shade   because it admits

Please note: some of the playgrounds do not currently meet the safety requirements. As Auckland City Council upgrades these playgrounds we are ensuring that they then meet this standard.

Although it doesn’t say which playgrounds don’t meet those requirements.

No right to sue

New Zealand’s has a no-fault Accident Compensation Scheme. The Accident and Compensation Commission administers a 24 hour, 7 day per week, no-fault, comprehensive accident insurance scheme covering New Zealanders and those people visiting New Zealand. In return for this cover, people do not have the right to sue for damages if another person, or organisation, is at fault. No fault can also mean no responsibility.

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Auckland playgrounds- which are best? In a thread on a parenting forum, one mother says “Gladstone park on gladstone road in parnell is quite good it has a couple of good slides but no shade and gets quite hot in summer.”

Children in NZ – Facts and Stats

6 thoughts on “Kids Burned On NZ Play Equipment

  1. Denial

    Kiwis are like the Stubborn Sillies in the fairy story. No one will rise from his chair to shut the door, so robbers come in and take everything.

  2. This was one of the things that shocked me when I moved here. I expected there to be some minimum safety considerations taken into account, for example in the area of road design or the odd ecologically aesthetic rail here and there in natural beauty spots. There were not. Caveat viator and emptor.

    Sometimes tragedy is the result.

    Sometimes just a moustache tattooed on by a Kiwi operating (as they do) seat of the pants with no certification (can you imagine some of the results – but she’ll be right! 8-D)

    but HEY as this young girl says
    “you have to have to right attitude to carry it.” [sic]

  3. You might, if you have been in New Zealand long, remember the famiy who moved to New Zealand and 2 men tried to abduct their 5yr old child from a Taranaki school.
    The men came inside the school gates during the lunch break and one of them grabbed the girl. Luckily a friend shouted and they ran.

    The child’s parents had brought their family to New Zealand to “escape the pressures of Europe”! “One of the reasons we came here is because we thought New Zealand was a safe place for our kids, and now this has happened,” the mother told journalists. She added, “I want to get a warning out to parents and schools to be aware of what is happening to this country. Some people are so arrogant they can walk in off the street and grab a child. I don’t know why they would do this. Is it for sexual abuse, or ransom? Were they on drugs? The police told me they didn’t want to make a big thing of it – they didn’t want to scare people.

    The (police) said, “We don’t want people panicking and running around with pitchforks”.

    At the cost of the town’s children? As with the bullying, it is easier to silence victims than stir up a wasp’s nest. Those wasps’ nests can grow rather big though.

  4. If they erected large awnings/shade canvas over the playgrounds, which they would not do anyway because it is too expensive, people would simply steal and rubbish them.

  5. The problem with ‘Darwinism in action’ is that kids spend most of their developmental years learning how to survive, leaving little time for more advanced social or intellectual development. Some migrants consider NZ as being perilously close to a developing country in this respect.

    On another post a reader quoted this

    “Based on information drawn from focus groups, we argue that reluctance to change behaviour results partly from investments in particular cultural identities which are tied into hegemonic masculinities and understandings of national identity, such as the masculine pioneer heritage established during the colonial period.”

    Old habits die hard.

  6. Kiwis of my acquaintance always tell me that NZ “prides itself on not coddling its children”. They evidently think it is a good idea to produce a superior Darwinistic product through “hardening” and a high risk tolerance. Given the alarming abuse, disease and accident statistics, this belief is widely put into practice. As to whether it reflects well on them compared to other places that do “coddle”, as these sorts of Kiwis seem to think, I leave that up to the readers of this blog.

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