Playgrounds Are for Children, Not Childless Grown-Ups

Playgrounds can be the greatest thing in the world when you live in a city with limited outdoor space. We have no backyard, so going to the park for my kids is a daily necessity. Luckily, both kids also have playgrounds at their schools, which means they get a lot of outdoor time. But one of the schools has a public playground that is also open to anyone at the same hours my child is using it. This seems very wrong.

Playgrounds are a great resource for everyone, it's true. But there can be laws and regulations around playgrounds that make them safer for everyone.

Just recently, my daughter had an incident on a playground when she was with her after-school program. A man who had no child with him approached her and reached for her hand. There is just no excuse for it.


No man (or woman for that matter) should have access to a playground where children come to let loose, laugh, and be free. But when I posed the idea of closing the playground down to the public, the idea was met with derision.

One woman insisted that a public playground should be truly "public" and open to all. I say no way. Playgrounds already have regulations, so any notion that they're truly open and inclusive and public is kind of silly. They all close down by 10 p.m. or so and they all have signs that say: "No dogs allowed."

Obviously there is a difference between a dog and a grown-up human, but there is no reason why there can't be laws around childless people being in playgrounds. Is it paranoid? Maybe. But who really gets hurt?

One mother in my online group said her husband often eats lunch in the summer months on picnic tables that are located in a playground. She sees nothing wrong with that. Well, I do. He is likely a perfectly safe and wonderful person, but as a parent, I don't know that. Personally, I would much rather have a rule and slightly inconvenience an adult than skip that rule and have something happen.

Sure, they may take my Massachusetts Liberal card away, but there are certain "ideals" that don't line up with the truth or with practicality. Playgrounds are for children and their grown-ups. Why can't there be dedicated spaces for only children where creepy (and non-creepy) grown-ups can't actually sit unless they also have a child?

I see nothing wrong with this and, in fact, would support any legislation that pushed this agenda. Some cities have this and it works for them. So why not here, too?

Do you believe in park regulations?


Image via laffy4k/Flickr

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