Tag Archives: Freedom Swing

Freedom Swing Unchained, but, Not How It Should Have Been

This is what happens when a good idea goes bad because city officials don’t think it out.

The Freedom Swing was installed, for the second time, at a cost of more than $31,000 more than a year ago. It has not been available for use by the general public because this city was unable to come up with an instructional sign which would allow people to properly use this swing.
In the interim the swing was kept behind a locked gate which the children of this community figured out how to circumvent. (Bend the Latch)

Notice the tilt of the swing because the chain on the bottom left has been broken by people jumping up and down.

You can see where someone has tried to fix it with a piece of wire rendering this device unsafe for the general public.

The opposite side has been stretch almost to the breaking point


First off congratulations to Ashley Fox for doing a wonderful job in completing her requirements for a Silver Award.
A Stinky Brown Pile of Crap Award goes to the adults that screwed the pooch in getting this apparatus installed.
This installation brought to you by the City of Wildomar is:
1. An overly complicated backyard contraption which was being entered backwards at first because no one knew what they had or how it worked, installation was not finished until the day before the second scheduled ribbon cutting. It also has to be removed daily because it lacks the necessary security hardware that other apparatuses in the Tot-Lot have to make theft difficult.
2. It will add time to the part-time employees work day by its needing to be installed, checked on and taken down daily. Who’s going to put it away when park closes, the security guard, as the part-time employee will have been gone home for several hours.
3. This apparatus has numerous attachments that are easily stolen, much like the web belts on the molded swings at Regency Heritage Park that were never replaced. Is this the future of this device?.
4. Some claim there was a plan, some claim the apparatus arrived behind schedule which screwed up this plan. Well the truth is the drawings for this item have been available from the manufacturers website since day one, back before Easter. Despite this fact on August 25, 2014 the Parks Subcommittee made the final decision on where it would go 2 DAYS AFTER its initial installation was supposed to take place on August 23, 2014 along with spending as much as $28,500 in Developer Impact Fees to accomplish this goal. The city council gave the final nod of approving to the Wildomar Standing Subcommittee for Parks plan on September 10, 2014, all without any approved drawings being presented. Thankfully PV Maintenance, the cities contractor for city facilities donated the time so it will only cost the taxpayers whatever it cost to remove this contraption an return the Tot-Lot back to its former glory, accessible to all.
Numerous other problems exist with this apparatus as installed currently:

1. The slab it sits on today is 184 inches or (15 feet 4 inches) X 195 inches or (16 feet 3 inches).

The concrete slab poured  with frame embedded.

The concrete slab poured with frame embedded.

The drawing sent by the manufacturer and available on their website
Drawing supplied by the manufacturer

Drawing supplied by the manufacturer

This size use zone is also called out in the “Public Playground Safety Handbook” issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission “Publication 325″ last revised November 2010. This publication is available for download at http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/122149/325.pdf
2. Also included in this government publication is another very important dimension which is found on Page 38
Section Fall Height – The fall height for swings is the vertical distance between the pivot point and the protective surfacing beneath it. In the case of the Freedom Swing this distance is 96 inches (8 feet).
Section 2.4 Surfacing The surfacing under and around playground equipment is one of the most important factors in reducing the likelihood of life-threatening head injuries. A fall onto a shock absorbing surface is less likely to cause a serious head injury than a fall onto a hard surface. However , some injuries from falls, including broken limbs, may occur no matter what playground surfacing material is used.
The most widely used test method for evaluating the shock absorbing properties of a playground surfacing material is to drop an instrumented metal headform onto a sample of the material and record the acceleration/time pulse during the impact. Field and laboratory test methods are described in ASTM F1292 Standard Specification for Impact Attenuation of Surface Systems Under and Around Playground Equipment.
Testing using the methods described in ASTM F1292 will provide a “critical height” rating of the surface. This height can be considered as an approximation of the fall height below which a life-threatening head injury would not be expected to occur . Manufacturers and installers of playground protective surfacing should provide the critical height rating of their materials. This rating should be greater than or equal to the fall height of the highest piece of equipment on the playground. The fall height of a piece of equipment is the distance between the highest designated play surface on a piece of equipment and the protective surface beneath it. Details for determining the highest designated play surface and fall height on some types of equipment are
included in §5 Parts of the Playground. (See Section above)
2.4.1 Equipment not covered by protective surfacing recommendations
The recommendations for protective surfacing do not apply to equipment that requires a child to be standing or sitting at ground level. Examples of such equipment are:
• Sand boxes
• Activity walls at ground level
• Play houses
• Any other equipment that children use when their feet remain in contact with the ground surface

Why all the information about fall attenuation?
Because the 3/4 inch Rubber-Cal tiles used below the swing are not rated for any fall.

Fall protection material selected by ?

Fall protection material selected by ?

This company make another type of tile that is 2 1/2 inches thick which is rated for a 6 foot fall which still falls short of the requirement.
The best material which meets all the requirements already existed in the Tot-Lot. Engineered Wood Fiber.
3. American Disability Act (ADA) requires there be an accessible route of travel. This Tot-Lot had that prior to the concrete ramp being removed in order to accommodate this apparatus. What we are left with is a straight drop-off an undersize slab, with even an attempt at a ramp on the far end being inadequate (its is only 48 inches wide with no slope,
Inadequate width and no slope

Inadequate width and no slope

not 60 inches with a less than 30 degree slope as recommended by ADA)
A proper ADA ramp

A proper ADA ramp

Boil it down we have a Use Zone that is to Small, we have NO fall protection and No access to rest of the Tot-Lot since the removal of the only ramp into it.

So as to not go to waste
Donate it to the senior center where persons with lifetime of experience dealing with difficult situations now confined to a wheelchair might enjoy it reliving their childhood.