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Architectural Digest takes note of Roslindale's 'risky' playground

Fallon Field playground

That's some slide (file photo).

An article on the rise of 'risky' play design includes a look at Roslindale's Fallon Field playground, which features the city's tallest slide, reachable only by climbing up a rope mesh:

[T]he goal of risk play, Ruane argues, is “not to have something typical and safe, but to challenge these growing bodies and minds in ways that really pique their interests. These are important life skills and where better to do it than in a public park?” Spaces like Fallon Field are increasingly vital for teens in urban areas, she adds, who need this “third space” outside of home and school that facilitates teamwork and risk-taking.

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Comments

wish I had playgrounds like this back in my days...

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When I was a kid all playgrounds were a risk! Let's make everything out of cement then cover it with a thin layer of mulch! Let's run chains between big wooden beams that splinter in the summer sun! Rusty metal poles sticking up for no reason, we had em!

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Back in my day, they didn't even bother with that and all the equipment was made of shiny metal that got up to like 150 degrees in the summer and we slid down head first right onto the concrete, and we liked it!

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On our (BPS) school’s cement playground during a thrilling game of Boys Chase Girls. Blood, stitches, the works. I guess that wouldn’t happen today for two reasons.

And yes, I’m sure the head bump explains a lot—ha ha! But really—was anything nicer than the first spring slides down that sun-warmed metal?

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It was like 6-8 twists around compared to you standard 2-3 now? I actually have no idea how many twists it was, but it was tall with a long ladder.

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One of my earliest memories is the first time I climbed to the top of that ladder all by myself. I was too scared to go down the slide and all the kids lined up behind me had to back down off the ladder so I could get off.

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I want to say 20, but that might just be the 6 year old me thinking that it is that tall.

The riskiest place in the Fallon Field playground is not that rope climb to the slide. For some reason they put some concrete steps over by the kiddie swings. The steps are great for climbing, but I just have an image of a kid falling and cracking open their head on the concrete. I've got more critiques of the space, but from a safety perspective, the concrete bothers me the most.

EDIT- I should have read the article first. It was the steps that were highlighted. I think the criticism is valid, which could be backed up when parents start submitting claims to the City for dental work.

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Ridiculous to insist that everything be a padded cell for your little one.

You will find something out when your kids get to school age: in the absence of "hazards", they can get serious injuries by simply running into each other!

Including breaking their eye glasses when doing so.

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Heck, we don't even make him use a seat belt. He just sloshes across the back seat when the car turns. It builds character. That's what we did when we were young, and by and large most of my generation didn't die or get permanently injured in car crashes, so it should be good enough for him. Just like smashing his head on newly installed concrete won't do too much damage to him.

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Concrete steps sort of near a swing set (but well outside that swing set's safety radius) is in an entirely different galaxy of risk compared to riding in a car, which is probably the most dangerous thing many kids in Boston ever do, even when riding in a car seat.

Like most parents, I have had my moments where my instinct has been to be a little bit nervous about some of the things my kids have done at Fallon. But there's a huge difference between putting a kid in an environment where they can evaluate and manage their own level of comfort with risk and putting them in the back of a car where they don't have any control over what's going on.

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But much to the anon.

My point is that going from being a kid to having a kid, with a big gap in between, those steps are a recipe for injury. Yes, not quite akin to an automobile crash, but still, there is a difference between encouraging some risk to get confidence (see, the slide) and having designers put in a feature that can injure (why not wood, for example.) I never cease scratching my head at the fact concrete blocks were used. Sure, we had those when we were kids, but we also rode in cars without seatbelts.

Weirdly enough, my serious best memory of being unstrapped in a car as a child comes from the intersection down the hill from the playground. Mum must have taken the turn from Robert to South at speed, since sis and I definitely hit the rear passenger door. No harm, though, and I bet she remembers that, too.

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I think I got tetanus from that slide in the 70's...lol.

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...based on the kids playing on it but my kid misses the old one with more slides, more swings and things to climb. This place is kind of a one trick pony if you don't want to climb the netting and wait for the one slide which my kid doesn't want to do, especially when there are lots of bigger kids on the structure. There's less small places to explore or smaller slides to play on. Less stuff = less places for creative play - it's be daring or be bored.

We drive to Billings or Hynes instead of walking to this one now.

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The beauty of the city is you have multiple close by options. Sounds like you're taking advantage of that. Everything won't suit everyone.

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I liked walking to the playground. It's a bummer for our house but life moves on.

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We miss the sandbox, although it certainly came with its own problems and challenges. Our kids don't like the tall slide, but they still have fun at Fallon with the other equipment there. If you aren't happy with it, I'd recommend trying the new Healy playground - it has a variety of different equipment including a really good water feature that always seems to be a hit.

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Not much fun happening there for the toddler/pre-school crowd, especially when the older kids are there.

The new playground by Flaherty Pool is better for the younger kids except there are no swings.

Billings has it all.

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Back in my day, the fun started when you got tetanus

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It's still a far cry from Action Park

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My elementary school used to do field trips there (the 80s were a different time). Everyone would have cuts, bruises and gaping wounds at the end of the day, but we all wanted to go back. A place like that could never exist today. Not sure why - https://theconcourse.deadspin.com/rare-video-of-people-actually-riding-a...

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And when you came out the end you could come close to the end of that pool if I remember correctly.

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Most of us from a certain generation, had neighborhood playgrounds that weren't the safest places in the world, compared to today's parks. Isn't it better to have children be fearless and get their bumps and bruises early [in life] so that they develop some capacity [grit] to deal with environments that haven't had all the dangers groomed out of them? Children have to learn their limitations and push the envelope. Falls, bumps, bruises, stitches and sprains are normal injuries many children experience. Having an element of danger makes the experience more FUN. The more athletically demanding the park the better for the child, especially if it's geared toward teens.

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Or the Alpine slide on a concrete track that removed multiple layers of skin when you wiped out.

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