SPECIAL REPORT: Dangerous Playgrounds Pt.1

Published: Nov. 2, 2011 at 9:29 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 2, 2011 at 10:05 PM HST
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Slide at Koko Head Park
Slide at Koko Head Park
Certified playground inspector Dave Short
Certified playground inspector Dave Short

By Tannya Joaquin - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Disgraceful and Dangerous, those two words are used a lot to describe our playgrounds and, it's easy to see why.

We checked out seven playgrounds across Oahu and found crumbling equipment at every one.

A tip on Facebook led us to Waialae Iki Park.

Concerned mom Petra Schatz wrote ""it has had caution tape for like 3 years on the slide" and "one of the little boys got a bad scrape there the other day."

We found one hole right on top of a play structure where children run every day.

"And that just scratches the surface. On the Kamiloiki playground, you'll see what's left of caution tape leading you all the way up what's really the star attraction in any playground. It's of course the slide and if you follow me, you're about to see why. Just in the past few months, a huge hole surfaced here. This one is 20 inches long and as you can see it's very rough around the edges."

Jon Bjorkhom taught his son Taj to stay off the slide--after witnessing another boy get stuck in that hole.

"One of his legs got stuck to mid thigh in the slide. We actually had to climb up the slide and pull him back out. He was stuck in there for at least a minute."

In 2000, 110 of those same play structures went up island wide. The city invested 8 million dollars into our playgrounds. But look at them now.

At Keehi lagoon, another cracked slide is boarded up.

An entire walkway-- gone.

We uncovered multiple hazards at Palolo valley district playground,

Certified playground inspector Dave Short demonstrated what can go wrong.

"They're here, they step off and bang, they've got a head against the pole."

See the ground cover that's supposed to cushion falls? A test reveals it's borderline, and could even cause injury.

"This is a tripping hazard because kids are running all over the place. They're going to smack their toe and smack their head or teeth against that bar," said Short.

The surface under the swing is worse.

"That's a big hazard right there that asphalt. If I owned this playground, I would take that down or fix it. One or the other."

If a dime can fit through the swing chain, so can little fingers and clothing.

Here's another accident waiting to happen.

"That's a hazard. Feet slip and go through. Everything goes through but the head. Now he's dangling."

Add a deteriorating landing to that list. I counted 16 holes.

"This wood is eventually going to rot. If the center were rotten, they could fall right through."

More on these hazards in Part 2 of the special report: Playground Dangers.

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