Thursday, 19 March 2009

Local Community Centre Plans a Programme of Toddler Risk

I planned not to be cross anymore, or at least not to use my blog to let off steam about my crossness. But hey, that's just not me.

So what I'm really worried about today is our local community centre. I had a very unsatisfactory conversation with the gardener (who may or may not be planning the garden) about child friendly design. He told me the centre's garden will not be child friendly, and parents will need to stay with their children AT ALL TIMES. As, any parent will know, this just isn't possible however hard you try, the children run fast, if you have more than one, sometimes they go in different directions, and if they are playing you can't exactly run behind them holding their hand.

So I complained, and asked who was planning the garden, and if they were concerned about using public money, but effectively making a good 50% of their clientele, who are families unable to use the garden with confidence. Deathly silence.

Now I hear there is a pond. A flaming pond! In a garden, accessed through the doors of the cafe. That with the broken fence (no plans to replace apparently)down to a busy road on to the estate.

Some of my friends think this OK the children need to learn risk, and it will be fine. So, at risk of going out on mad limb again, I am possibly one of the only local people who foresees hideous things.

And just to finish here is the formal water safety organisation's pond advice;

'Children between 1 and 2 years are particularly at risk. Water holds a fascination for this age group and a young child will investigate any water present in the garden. Toddlers mobility increases at a tremendous rate once they start crawling and they can quickly escape parental supervision and get into difficulties. Whilst mobility is increasing quickly, stability and co-ordination remain poor. Therefore a toddler who falls into a garden pond, even a shallow one, will find it difficult to regain their balance and stand up. Also it is not until the age of 4 or 5 years that children begin to understand the concept of danger and can begin to heed the warnings given to them.
If you have young children the Forum advises you to take out garden ponds and water features until the children are older, consider converting the pond into a sandpit. '

Which means don't do it, unless you want the deaths of small toddlers on your watch, oh no, sorry it'll be their parents' fault for not staying with them.

Edit: Just had a very interesting conversation with the community centre manager - the management/steering group are all very sensible and are mitigating risk, they are planning a pond, but with a grill over the top. Must stop thinking about garden issue?


smilernpb said...

Shocking. Some people just have no sense, do they?

tattyhousehastings said...

I know, but fortunately there are some very good people with lots of sense. Thank goodness!

Why Me? said...

I agree with you that it should be a garden suitable for the needs of all the users of that centre. There is no reason why a perfectly beautiful and tranquil garden could not be created that would also be child friendly.

However I do think, given the position of the centre, that you shouldn't allow the kids to play out of your eyesight. It is rather easy to escape onto the roads around there.

tattyhousehastings said...

Oh yes - forgot again that the gates there just open on pushing! What a shame, eh?
At least the lovely lovely local nursery garden should be fab when (if) we get the funding, as it has been designed properly. Even the children have done mind mapping...