A community is calling for the removal of a “potentially fatal” slide that has caused more than 40 injuries to young children, including several broken bones.
A “furious” parent is circulating a community petition after her three-year-old daughter broke her leg on the slide at Boongaree Nature Play Park in Berry.
Taylah Hall said she had been wary of the slide, but said “since reading reports that the slide had been fixed and that council now deemed it safe, we trusted that.”
Her husband Mitch Liddicoat went down the slide with their young daughter and he said they were “thrown around like a tumble dryer.”
“It catapulted us from one side of the slide to the other and she smashed her leg,” he said.
“The injury was specifically because of the design of the slide.”
Ms. Hall said her daughter’s scream still haunts her and she was “furious” that Harlow broke her leg on a slide designed for children.
“I know for a fact that if my husband wasn’t on there with her, her injuries would have been a million times worse, if not fatal,” she wrote in the Change.org petition.
Mr. Liddicoat said Harlow’s broken leg showed how dangerous the slide is for children.
“It could get to the point where a child goes down in the wrong spot and they don’t get to go home with their family at all,” he told NCA Newswire.
The $4.6 million playground has only been open for eight months, but it has caused more than 40 serious injuries, including broken collarbones and head injuries.
One local said her young son was hospitalized after he suffered a facial fracture and dislodged teeth while using the slide.
The south coast playground made headlines in April when a 4-year-old girl broke both of her legs when she was going down the slide. When her mother reached out to the community, she found more than 30 parents with children who had been injured at Boongaree.
Doctors at the local hospital told Mr. Liddicoat they see numerous children who were injured at the park each week. The same is true of the Wollongong Fracture Clinic, which told him they have a “steady stream” of young patients who were hurt in the newly built playground.
After the safety issues were raised, Shoalhaven City Council engaged Kidsafe NSW to conduct an assessment of the compliance and performance of the Bongaree Play Park against Australian standards.
A Kidsafe NSW spokesperson said the results of the assessment were directly sent to the council and have not publicly been released. Mr. Liddicoat said he believed the playground had been given the all-clear.
“Obviously if the slide is open, it’s been deemed safe for the public and children to use,” he said.
The petition to remove or modify the slide at the Berry playground had drummed up more than 120 signatures in the four days it’s been viable.
While Mr. Liddicoat and Ms. Hall said they are not considering legal action against the council, he knows other families with injured children are looking to pursue legal avenues.
Shoalhaven City Council said it has temporarily shut the slide for further review after being notified of the alleged injury.
“The slide has been certified as compliant with Australian Standards and Council has taken all reasonable steps to review and reaffirm this,” a statement read.
“Council has also installed additional signage to educate parents or guardians on the intended use of the slide.”