12th June 2017
The tall, straight slide that used to sit in the big children’s section of American Playground in Brooklyn inspired many similes. Really tall, like a mountain, according to 7-year-old Olive Vogel. Or really fast, as if you’re in a sled.
Or, for Sarah Mead, a mother of two who frequents the playground almost daily, “like a mandoline. Like you use to thinly slice vegetables.”
The welding between the siding and the bed of the stainless steel slide came apart in spring 2016, Ms. Mead said, exposing a razorlike edge sharp enough to cut a child’s hand open. She reported the break to the city that April, and the slide was removed in July.
Nearly 100 more slides of the same model — the Lightning Slide, distributed by the Pennsylvania-based company Playworld — were removed from New York City playgrounds in December and January, part of a manufacturer’s recall after the same break that Ms. Mead and her husband noticed amputated the fingers of two children, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Approximately 1,300 slides, sold from November 2000 to October 2016, were recalled, according to a statement by Playworld. The company said it was aware of 13 broken welds. New York City did not receive reports of any injuries on the recalled slides, most of which were in Brooklyn. The company did not respond to requests for comment.
Still, the recall illustrated a long-contentious issue in city parenting circles: playground safety.
“I was the parent who sat here and said, ‘Nobody’s allowed on the slide.’ People were like, ‘You’re being too neurotic,’” Ms. Mead recalled on Thursday while watching her 4-year-old son meander toward a slide that was not recalled. On the same blue and red structure, where the Lightning Slide used to perch, there is now a protective railing and a lime green sign from the Parks Department promising a replacement “as new models become available.”