Special Report: Backyard Danger
Even with chilly temperatures and some snow on the ground, the backyard swingset is still a favorite place for kids to have fun.
Who would imagine that playtime could end in tragedy.
Reed Cowan says, "My child died of hanging from a swing set in a backyard. The most freak accident you could ever imagine."
Seven's News anchor Reed Cowan lost his 4-year-old son Wesley after an accident on his swing set.
He says, "He was going across those monkey bars, and, as he did so, he fell into the corner of the trapeze bar, and he was gone in an instant."
A mother, who wanted to remain unidentified says, "When she fell she landed straddling the swing."
This mother says her daughter suffered a traumatic injury on a swing set, "She had a, what's known as, a female straddle injury. It's really harsh; it's almost like a female circumcision. It took them three hours, two surgeons to repair the damage."
Like Wesley, her daughter fell from the monkey bars onto a swing.
And there have been other accidents.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports dozens of children in 25 states have suffered serious injuries while playing on swingsets with one certain design.
That design is overhead monkey bars with swings, sliders and trapeze bars attached on one side.
Safety expert Scott Burton says, "When children go across the overhead ladders, which is commonly called monkey bars, and they lose their grip, and they fall onto the swings or swinging component."
Burton says the injuries speak for themselves.
In 1991, a 2-year-old Wisconsin
Yet parents like Debra Cadorette and Pam Palmucci have never even heard about the potential danger.
Pam Palmucci, a mother of three says, "I just never would have thought this kind of swing set would pose such a hazard and a risk to kids."
And Debra Cadorette, a mother of twin boys says, "I've always been concerned about them falling to the ground, never mind getting caught on the rope or getting caught on the seat of the swing."
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued no warnings and no recalls. 7News spoke to the CPSC, and they would only tell us they are aware of the injuries.
Nychelle Fleming of the CPSC says, "The commission is aware of one death associated with the overhead fall, and we are now looking at that particular report and doing an investigation on it."
Several manufacturers have said in recent weeks that they will start to phase out what they admit is a dangerous design. But even though the design might be phased out, there are still thousands of and thousands of these swing sets in backyards across the country.
One mom is trying to get the word out, one family at a time, before another child gets hurt.
She says, "If I'm driving down the road, and I do see a swing set in somebody's backyard, I will stop the car and go up and knock on the backdoor and tell them what happened to my daughter and that they need to take it down." Kim Khazei, 7News.
The committee charged with making sure swing set designs are safe and reporting back to the CPSC is looking into this problem right now.
A few weeks ago, part of that group voted to ban this swingset design.
It now goes to the full committee for a vote.
7 News asked the CPSC if they would issue a safety alert in the meantime, but they would not comment.
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