13 January 2015
Sections of Lake Monticello’s playgrounds have been cordoned off and playground equipment has been removed due to safety hazards cited by a recent inspection.
Cynthia Lewis-Brown, Charlottesville certified playground safety inspector, noted multiple “priority one hazards” at two of the three playgrounds: Ashlawn and Lafayette. The composite structures, or large structures with slides, steps, and activities, have dangerous gaps in them. The gaps fit a child’s body but not a child’s head. It’s possible, therefore, that a child could fall through the gap and get caught by the neck when the head becomes stuck. Lewis-Brown said those gaps “could cause serious injury/death.”
These hazards require manufacturer attention, so the equipment has been removed. The posts remain in the ground, and the affected areas have been cordoned off with yellow caution tape.
Another priority one hazard at Ashlawn playground involved upside-down hardware on a swing that created a “vertical protrusion.” Lewis-Brown noted that the maintenance staff should be able to correct this hazard easily.
No priority one hazards were found at Bunker playground.
The report noted many other less significant issues, such as cracks in equipment, protruding bolts, a wasp’s nest in the equipment, broken coils on a spring rider, and a swing set with a missing support leg. All three playgrounds need new mulch to cushion falls, to soften or cover tripping hazards, and to shorten the distance between equipment height and the ground.