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“Risk is good… hazard is bad”


Merry-Go-Rounds and Carousels are back! OK, we know they’ve been back for a while… but have you stopped to consider how amazing it is that we have them again in public parks?

We could talk about how great the Moduplay Carousels are, how kids get all kinds of exercise and stimulation from spinning and pushing other kids on them, or the way they are built to last with virtually no maintenance, or how we make them in Australia… but you kind of know all that.

Instead, just consider for a moment how amazing it is that we have come full circle (pun not intended) with play equipment  in Australia and today we actually have carousels, roundabouts, merry-go-rounds and all manner of spinning devices for our kids to play on in our parks and public spaces.

Not to mention the endless array of other amazing play opportunities available across all kinds of play activities these days. Massive climbing towers, fast moving flying foxes, enormous swings that spiral and pivot… and more.

We’ve all heard the moaning about how “we wrap our kids in cotton wool these days” and all the “real play equipment” has been taken out… I mean, merry-go-rounds that you could push as fast as you like and dare each other to ride them? They were supposed to be long gone.

They were apparently destined for the history books of a time when boys and girls lived dangerously, engaging in playtime like nobody has ever since, according to the Baby Boomer generation and now even the Gen-Xers.

Well actually, that did happen, in the late ’80’s and through to about 2003 a lot of equipment was removed and much “safer” equipment was installed, which turned out fairly boring and repetitive, and in the overall was a bad move… But a few interesting things have happened since then and this trend has been reversed so that today, in 2021, our children are actually playing on equipment that is once again truly challenging, great fun, exciting and to an extent, actually “risky”.

How did this happen?

Firstly, the Civil Liabilities Act was introduced broadly across Australia around 2002-03 which basically meant that Aussies were once again responsible for their own actions and needed to take reasonable care of themselves when out and about. This law, by the way, is the reason we still have recreation parks of any kind in Australia, it’s the reason why holiday parks can still afford to operate and it’s the reason your local council can offer great playgrounds and outdoor spaces to the community. We need to make sure it stays.

Secondly, later in the 2000’s Australia embraced the European Standards for Play Equipment in place of a previous more restricted standard. This opened up the way for Australian play equipment manufacturers to get a lot more creative with the designs and play equipment offerings to the Australian market, whilst maintaining the highest safety standards.

What made the big difference in play equipment offerings?

The big change was the introduction of design rules that allowed for “risk” as opposed to “hazard”. That is, “risk is good” and “hazard is bad”.

Children need to engage in risky play to challenge themselves, build their resilience and understand there are sometimes consequences from their actions. And through the careful structuring of the new Australian Play Equipment Standards it has become possible to provide the play equipment that offers this to our children, without the allowance of unacceptable “hazards”.

Generally speaking, a “risk” is something that a child can foresee. A “hazard” is a danger that a child cannot foresee, and is therefore unacceptable.

So we welcome the Moduplay Carousels back to our parks and public spaces and may they go on living in the experiences and memories of our kids in Australia!

To see the range go here.

To find out more about the Moduplay Carousels get in touch here.

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