Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Taking moral high ground

A mother is concerned proposed higher playground platforms could put children at risk.

ESTELLE GRIEPINK April 5, 2014 5:02am

Higher ground: Shepparton's Callum Hall, 3, could soon be playing on playgrounds with a higher maximum platform height of 3m.

A proposal to raise the maximum height of playground platforms to 3m has received a mixed response parents and children’s groups.

Standards Australia wants to lift the present maximum height of 2m because it will allow easier trade between Australia and Europe, where 3m platforms are the norm.

Shepparton mother Emma Hall said she was concerned higher platforms could put children at risk.

Her son Callum, 3, regularly played at Victoria Park Lake, Aquamoves and SPC Ardmona KidsTown playgrounds.

‘‘As a parent, I wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing him play on platforms that high,’’ Ms Hall said.

‘‘When there’s older kids up there pushing and shoving, it wouldn’t take much to knock a little kid over and it’s a long way to fall — 3m is three times his height.’’

Standards Australian chief executive Colin Blair said the series of standards would allow playground equipment manufacturers in Australia and overseas to trade with reduced barriers.

‘‘Australian children will be able to enjoy and experience a larger and more exciting range of playground equipment,’’ Mr Blair said.

‘‘It is hoped that this will encourage more children to spend more time outdoors and exercising.’’

Kidsafe Victoria project manager Jason Chambers said the non-for-profit organisation considered the proposed change as a positive thing.

‘‘It open us up to a whole new range of equipment and will increase challenges for children, which is really important for keeping them physically active and interested in getting outside,’’ Mr Chambers said.

He said European playgrounds raised playground platforms to 3m several years ago and no increase in injuries had been recorded.

‘‘It’s also important to note that the soft impact surfacing under the equipment will differ according to the height,’’ he said.

‘‘Based on the height of the equipment there will be an increase in the thickness of the impact surface to absorb the impact if children do fall, which will reduce the risk of injury.’’

But Ms Hall said she was not sold on the idea.

‘‘Yes, kids fall all the time, but I’d rather have him fall from a 2.5m high platform than a 3m one,’’ she said.

‘‘He already falls all the time, he rides a bicycle without training wheels — we don’t need a playground to teach him how to do that.’’

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