Kutska comments on U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2-16 -2012 Release #12-109 Children’s Slides Recalled by Landscape Structures due to Fall Hazard

2-16-12 RECALL NEWS from CPSC on LSI Glide
The February 16th U.S. CPSC recall on the LSI Slalom Glider is an interesting development and it is worth another look. How many children need to sustain an injury allegedly due to some product before it is determined to be unsafe? What type and how many injuries must be sustained to warrant a government recall? At what point should government intervene to protect us from ourselves? Who determines when something is unsafe? The CPSC has made a decision to require a manufacturer to voluntarily recall one of its products. While we can applaud any action in response to a known hazard but I cannot help but wonder what was their basis for this decision? If 14 reported injuries (fractures), one bruised spleen, and one fractured collar bone over five years on thousands of these types of climbers are enough to require removal when will we hear about a recall on bicycles, soccer balls, skateboards, roller skates, and just about everything else we can think of that results in thousands of cuts and scrapes, numerous broken bones and yes, even death. The children who were reported injured on this equipment were under the age of eight. What has our judicial system determined to be the age of reason; a child older than 7? Obviously these children were probably not experienced in using such a piece of play equipment. They were also probably lacking in physical development, balance, maybe even slightly overweight or lacking in cognitive development. This recall labeled the play component as not compliant with the slide requirements of the CPSC Public Playground Safety Handbook. They are correct in their analysis for all the reasons stated in the recall however the component was not designed or labeled as a slide. It is a GLIDE. I understand that if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it must be a duck. I can see for myself that children can slide down the component or climb up it just like other compliant slide. Just because someone names something does not mean that is how children will use it during play. Does anyone remember the banister slides we have seen on some public playgrounds? Manufacturers even labeled these incline double or triple rails as a type of slide. The user would have to straddle the bars with their legs or arms to go up or down the event safely. I am sure there were children that probably fell through the bars to the surface and I am sure some even broke a bone or two. I am sure some even used this equipment in unintended ways but that is just being a kid playing and experimenting with their own bodies. Do you think children have gone down these on their skateboard? Where am I going with all this? I am not exactly sure but one thing for certain is that until we as a society can accept the results of our own actions and take responsibility for our lack of supervision and most importantly accept broken bones as a part of growing up we will continue to see the loss of play experiences children so desperately need to develop to their full potential. I cannot help but ask myself where this all will end. Is there something to learn from this CPSC action? I think it is time to have a public discussion on Risk and Hazards. What is the definition of an Acceptable Risk? When does something become an Unacceptable Hazard? What level of injury are we trying to protect a child from? Is it all falls? Why not? We know falls are the number one cause of injuries to all people. In this instance we do not even know if the surface the children fell on was compliant to the impact attenuating surface requirements of the CPSC. Does anyone realize the ramifications of this recall? There are several other U.S. manufacturers and some international companies selling very similar play components to this Slalom Glider. While they look very similar and are used in the same way there are distinct differences not easily recognized by the general public. Some may not be as high off the surface. They may be at a different slope. None of them have any side rails and none of them are called slides or even glider.
So what is next? How much litigation might take place as a result of this recall? When is there enough information available to the general public and its government regulatory authority to make some unilateral decision that will have severe financial impact on any industry? I come back to the question of when does something warrant the label, hazard or unsafe? How does something get recalled when such a small number of children have suffered a less than permanently debilitating injury or death? There may be more information related to the decision but I have not seen it. I would like to see it. More importantly I would like to know when we will have an adult discussion on the value of and need for challenging play in children’s development? This discussion is desperately needed so we might agree on some defensible criteria for risk assessment based on the type and severity of injury we can all work towards eliminating. Equally important is the need to agree on what types of injuries we can accept while we attempt to provide physically challenging environments for our children? I fear for children’s free play opportunities based on this governmental course of action. It always seems that avoidance of potential losses through public playground owners elimination of the potential cause is becoming more and more their first course of action. It is easy to implement. That being said I fear for what might become the next playground equipment recall? What play event will be next to be eliminated, the swing set? Why not upper body equipment such as overhead ladder (horizontal ladder)? More broken bones occur on this component than any other piece of play equipment as a result of use by children with limited upper body strength, especially those less than 8 years of age. Why not? After all upper body strength isn’t important in today’s high tech world.
In my opinion, a more reasonable course of action might have been to label this equipment for children above some age greater than 5, 6 or even 7, but I would leave that decision to the designers and the child development community. SEE RECALL BELOW
NEWS from CPSC
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Communications Washington, D.C.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFebruary 16, 2012
Release #12-109 Firm’s Recall Hotline: (888) 438-6574
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908
Children’s Slides Recalled by Landscape Structures due to Fall HazardWASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.
Name of Product: Slalom Glider
Units: About 900Manufacturer: Landscape Structures Inc., of Delano, Minn.

Hazard: The Slalom Glider is a playground slide that lacks a transition platform on the top and sides of the chute. Children can fall when moving from the ladder to the slide and when descending the chute.
Incidents/Injuries: CPSC and the firm have received 16 reports of injuries to children under 8-years old, including one bruised arm, 14 fractures to arms and legs, one fractured collar bone and one bruised spleen.
Description: The Slalom Glider is a distinctive 6-foot high playground slide that is curved in shape and made from molded plastic. It includes an arched, tubular steel access ladder. The recalled product comes as a stand-alone slide or as an attachment to other playground equipment. The recalled products have model numbers 156456 and 172627 and were sold in combinations of colors, including red, blue, tan, green, granite and white.
Sold: To schools and other facilities with playground equipment nationwide between January 2006 and December 2011 for about $2300.
Manufactured in: United StatesRemedy: Consumers should immediately stop children from using the recalled gliders and owners will be contacted by Landscape Structures regarding removal instructions. Customers will be given the option of replacing the Slalom Glider with another piece of playground equipment, receiving a refund, or receiving credit towards a future purchase.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Landscape Structures toll-free at (888) 438-6574 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. CT, or visit the firm’s website at www.playlsi.comThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell us about your experience with the product on www.saferproducts.gov
CPSC is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
Under federal law, it is illegal to attempt to sell or resell this or any other recalled product.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, go online to: www.saferproducts.gov, call CPSC’s Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain this news release and product safety information at www.cpsc.gov. To join a free e-mail subscription list, please go to https://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx.

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