The weather in St. Louis, Missouri is perfect right now. The leaves on the trees have changed colors. The Cardinals are one game away from going to the World Series – again. We are busy attending fall festivals, picking out Halloween costumes, and carving pumpkins. I'm definitely having a blast with the kids this fall. But at every turn, the personal injury lawyer in me sees dangers. I just can't escape!
The local Farmers Market has a great wooden playground set up right now. The girls love to climb all over it. Because the playground is boxed in with a makeshift fence, I see parents quickly pull up a chair and visit with each other while the kid play (I'm guilty of this too). But the fence is right next to the railroad tracks and parking lot and it is possible, if not very easy, for kids to climb through. Also, this playgound is a "one size fits all" playground. In other words, 2 year-olds climb on it just like the 10 year-olds. And when the 2 year-old gets to the dangerous, tall ladder or opening at the top of the platform, they don't stop! Parents – while your kids have fun, be sure to keep a watchful eye so they can continue to have fun and not suffer a playground injury!
Last night, we went on a hayride at a local park. It was a blast. Prior to hopping on the tractor, we cooked hotdogs and roasted marshmellows by campfire. Just before it got dark, the scenary was fantastic. We saw wild deer and elk strolling by. But by night fall, the place was pitch black except for the fire. All along the ground were tree branches, and holes in the ground – there was even a dropoff by a set of trees. Kids, of course, don't understand that they can't just take off running. One misstep and a tree branch (certainly the fire and dropoff) could be extremely hazardous.
Then we got on the tractor. Again, pitch black. There were no "railings" or "walls" on the tractor. Our two-year old could have walked right off (or been bumped right off) had we not been holding onto her. Overall, it was a great time – perfect weather and we created unforgetable memories but only because we all were safe!
I'm certain my two kids are very tired of hearing me yell "no running!" "watch where you are going!" "you have gone too far, come back!". These holiday places are designed meant for family fun but they certainly aren't injury proof. Parents, you have to use your head when taking your families to these adventures. A fantastic time is guaranteed but only if you watch over your little ones.
Lindsay Rakers, Metro-East Illinois injury attorney handling injury cases in Illinois and Missouri.