Plastic and metal playgrounds as the Safe New Thing?

Are they KIDDING us?

When I was a kid, I was terrified of plastic play structures. Hell, I still am. A metal slide from some all-wood playground may be a skin-scalding death trap at midday in the summer, but a plastic slide offers electric shocks and rug burns all year round. Then you run off and grab the plastic merry-go-round or the metal ladder and ZAP! A good wooden playground doesn't even threaten splinters, because it's been played on by so many kids that all the wood is polished by eight-year-olds' sweat and speed.

The community-built wooden playgrounds may actually be the newest trend, potentially superceding these monstrosities built of chemicals and politics. We had one in my home town too; it was called Rainbow City. It had a tire swing, two bouncy bridges, one of those wooden floors that move around when you walk across them, stuff to swing from, and a whole castle layout with towers and little passages and things.

Now if they'd made THAT out of plastic, they would have had to put some kind of sign up. "Warning: High Static Electricity Risk. Please remove all metal jewelry. Invalids, people with pacemakers, and very small children should avoid everything within a thirty-foot radius of this park. Any accidents incurred as a result of static electricity are strictly the park visitor's responsibility. Have a nice day."

Safety, my ass.