Adults should not use playground slides meant for children: NParks

Mr Chuah Hock Seong, NParks' group director of parks , said slides meant for children should be used correctly.
Mr Chuah Hock Seong, NParks' group director of parks , said slides meant for children should be used correctly.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - If you are an adult, you should not be on playground slides meant for children aged five to 12.

This was the advice given by the National Parks Board (NParks) and playground contractor Semec Enterprise, after safety concerns were raised by parkgoers over a new pair of steep slides at Admiralty Park.

On Tuesday (Nov 7), Shin Min Daily News reported that a 24-year-old woman suffered numerous injuries to her head, shoulders, and calf after being thrown out of one of the 23m-long, 9m-tall slides. Her adult sister also suffered bruises on her feet.

The twin slides are one of the 26 slides available at Admiralty Park, which re-opened two weeks ago (Oct 28) after a two-year facelift.

Ms Agnes Au, general manager of Semec Enterprise, which supplied the playground equipment at the park, said: "The reasons why it isn't safe for adults to slide down are clear - a heavier weight will lead to a faster speed, and a bigger build is more likely to hit the sides of the slides.

"In a playground, such small scrapes and bruises are part of play and most were sustained because of improper use," she added.

Ms Au said all play equipment at the park "are designed and complied with international safety standard and verified by a third party playground safety inspector".

Mr Chuah Hock Seong, NParks' group director of parks , said slides meant for children should be used correctly.

"For this purpose, we have signage and have also stationed staff to provide visitors with information on how to use the equipment correctly, based on the recommended age group.

"We will continue to observe the use of the equipment and will make tweaks where necessary," he said, adding as an example how yellow boxes have been drawn at the end of the tubed slides to remind users to stay clear of the area.

Billed as the largest in northern Singapore, the park next to Republic Polytechnic was crowded when The Straits Times visited at 5.45pm on Wednesday (Nov 8). There were teenagers and adults using the slides in question, some with their young children.

An NParks sign displayed near the slides said that the play equipment was designed for those five to 12, and that the park authority would not be held responsible for any injuries.

Two Semec Enterprise employees were there to ensure safety, such as moving people away from the landing zone, and regulating the flow of people going on the slides.

While some parents were concerned, others trust that the authorities have done their part to ensure safety.

Mr Bernard Lim, 28, was observing his two children, eight and 10, using the slides.

"There are recommended safety guidelines, so those that are over-aged should be responsible for their own safety if they still choose to use them," said the financial advisor.

Insurance agent Serene Koh, 38, suggested that softer or thicker mats could be placed at the bottom of the slides to cushion the impact when users exit from them.

Another parent, housewife Chai Chean Ping, 39, who has an 11-year-old son with autism, said she was worried as she had observed a number of teenagers using the slides.

"I'm a bit more protective of my son, as not all the equipment here are meant for those with special needs," she said.