Just a few days ago my son and daughter showed me their progress on the monkey bars at our local park.
My son, who is seven, can make it all the way across and my daughter, who is six, gets to the second rung before she needs me to hold her for the rest.
Not for one second have I ever thought of monkey bars as dangerous.
However a group of Aussie surgeons from the Royal Australiasian College of Surgeons are so alarmed at how many child fractures are being caused by monkey bars that they have spoken out in an article published in the ANZ Journal of Surgery to warn parents about them.
After a recent audit of child fractures treated at Melbourne Hosptial, monkey bars were found to have caused one in five injuries, many of which required surgery.
The surgeons from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons say it’s not even misuse of monkey bars that is doing all the damage. Even proper use is causing injuries.
I wonder how many fractures the child in this video has suffered so far? Article continues after the video.
While many of the reported injuries resulted from children climbing on top of the monkey bars instead of swinging on them, and some daring young folk who have decided to stand on top of them or sit on them, many are also caused by kids skipping a rung as they make their way across or falling.
Dr Sina Babazedeh, co-author of the article, said the number of injuries caused by monkey bars was anecdotally high. “It was child after child, after child,” he told News Ltd.
It's frustrating news considering the fact that most parents are constantly trying to encourage their kids to play outdoors. However, Dr. Babazedeh warns against parents preventing children from using play ground equipment such as monkey bars, saying, “We want kids to be active, it’s better than play station."
And just to put it in perspective, bikes and trampolines still cause the most broken bones. I also know of a boy who broke his arm by running into a wall at school, so to a degree, accidents are going to happen.
So before petitioning our local councils to ban monkey bars (despite how fun the placards would look with monkeys on them) what probably needs to happen is that children need to know how to use them and parents still probably need to keep an eye on them, even as they get older.
Have you ever heard of a child being injured by monkey bars or any other playground equipment?
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