Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekly Whine: Wood chips

I'm sure the non-parents reading this will have no idea what I'm talking about, but I've become incredibly frustrated recently that every single park in my area is now paved with wood chips.

In my day, they used foamy cushions to line a playground. Or they just used regular pavement, I guess. Obviously, I don't want my kid to fall on hard pavement and break an arm, but I really really hate those wood chips.

Aside from the fact that if your kid takes off their shoes, they are guaranteed to get a splinter, if you have a kid under two who is still in that oral phase, you are guaranteed to spend your entire time at the park grabbing wood chips away from your child seconds before she swallows them.

28 comments:

  1. Those stupid wood chips stick to the kids' ankles and drive splinters down in there without them even taking their socks off. Then you have to go find a neutral spot to take the shoe and sock off and search for the offending prickle before they can go play again. I agree 100% - wood chips on playgrounds are dumb.

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  2. Respectfully disagree. I prefer the esthetics of the wood chips over concrete over rubber.

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    1. you spelled aesthetics wrong. check out merriam webster dictionary.

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    2. both spellings are correct!

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    3. No, they're not! If you go to a terrible source like freedictionary.com, they're both right. But, who are we kidding? The legit source is Merriam Webster's...

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    4. Look again. Esthetic is a variant of aesthetic. It's even In Merriam Webster.

      PG

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  3. Yup, agreed. That sucks ass.

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  4. I always remember parks where I grew up having wood chips. Apparently the foamy cushions thing never caught on in my area.

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  5. I think they do it because the chips are essentially free. Most towns just use the wood chips of older/sick trees the municipal maintenance guys cut down. At least, that's what my town does.

    I agree it sucks, though.....

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  6. See, the person with the aesthetics is someone without children. Because they are choosing looks over function. Damn splinters.

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    1. Exactly... who cares how it looks compared with the safety? Why bother to pad it with anything then... just use hard marble.

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  7. My favorite park growing up had small pebbles, maybe about 1/2" wide, max. They worked great, they moved if you fell so they absorbed your fall and no one was ever injured. I bet they've replaced it for something inferior now.

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  8. I actually do have kids (3yo and 9mo) but splinters aren't a problem because I don't let them run around barefoot

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    1. Seems like you might be able to sometimes avoid splinters with shoes, but what about in the rare (not really) circumstance where they trip and fall on their bare hands? And this doesn't address the fact that kids in the oral phase WILL try to put those chips in their mouth. Your 9 month old may not be running around much yet, but when you've got two going in opposite directions, it's harder to constantly be monitoring this.

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    2. "Sometimes avoid splinters with shoes"?

      My shoes are fairly good at avoiding splinters. I'd say over 99% effective. I think most shoes are good for avoiding splinters, better than "sometimes" actually. Unless you're wearing Crocs with the holes in the soles.

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    3. How do your shoes keep you from getting splinters in your hands then? I'd be curious to know! :)

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    4. Well your original argument was about kids running around sans shoes getting splinters. Seems like ya moved the goalposts

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    5. No, I said in the original post "IF a kid removes their shoes they can get splinters", then I added in my comment above yours that you can also get splinters on your hands when you fall. And my biggest concern with a toddler is the eating of the wood chips.

      You can also see below in the comment from an orthopod JessJess that splinters are pretty common in these parks. So even if you as an adult manage to keep your shoes on, a lot of kids apparently don't, so it's a hazard either way.

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    6. My point about the chips around here is that you can actually be wearing shoes and get the splinters ANYWAYS, just by the wood chip dust attaching to your socks and working through the fabric. Cedar chips, if you are in the SE part of the US.

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    7. Are you kidding me? I get all sorts of crap in my shoes ALL the time (pebbles, etc), and I don't even go to playgrounds with wood chips. You don't have to be barefoot to get crap in your shoes.

      Unless you're wearing boots up to your knees, then maybe you might not get 'em.

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    8. Agree to disagree

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    9. Very well.

      But how can I continue a discussion with someone who lives in a world where shoes do not protect children from splinters? That same person will not concede that if the shoes stayed on then their would be fewer incidences of splinters.

      RE: Children eating wood chips. I guess that would be annoying, but probably more aggravating would be a child who bloodied their nose falling on the concrete. Or suffered an epidural hemorrhage when they knocked their head on the ground after jumping off the swings (you see I too can engage in hyperbole).

      PG

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    10. In all honesty, I've never specifically gotten a splinter while wearing shoes but I've never been a child playing in a park of wood chips. I've certainly gotten pebbles and other junk in my shoes. And if a kid is wearing open-toe sandals, I could see how a little wood chip could easily lodge itself inside. And like I said repeatedly, a kid could fall on their hands, even if they're wearing boots up their knees.

      I'm not arguing that instead of wood chips, there should be NO protection. I'm just saying that the wood chips are worse than the padded grounds in other parks. It's not clear to me that there's any difference in safety between these two.

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  9. I don't have kids yet, but I was a kid back in the 80s and there were a couple of these wood chip playgrounds around and they were awful! I got so many splinters from them. The best playgrounds had sand. The lack of splinters wasn't the sand's only virtue - you also could entertain yourself by building stuff with it when the mean kids were hogging the swings and slide.

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  10. I hate those damn things too and I don't have kids because it means that if you're on ortho call during the summer, you get paged at least once a night to dig some embedded splinter out of a kid. Usually by that point you have to cut them out, except you can't just numb up a 2 year old and dig in, so you have to get the ER to sedate them and BAM...there goes 2 hours of your night fishing out a stupid splinter.

    (that being said, the rest of the playground also gives us business...there are some summer nights you lose track of how many supracondylar fractures you get in kids who fall off the monkey bars)

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    1. I wonder what ground covering is better at preventing fractures...

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