Monday, September 03, 2007

Keep Mandy Pantinkin away from this child 

Wed Aug 29, 5:51 PM

NEW YORK - Something was different about newborn Jeshuah Fuller, but his proud parents couldn't quite put their finger on it.

Then his doctors, always on their toes, figured it out: Jeshuah was born with a few extra digits _ six fingers on each hand, six toes on each foot.

Jeshuah, born in Brooklyn on Tuesday, is healthy and weighs just over 7 pounds. His rare condition, called polydactylism, is usually genetic. His dad was born with an extra finger on his left hand.

Jeshuah's mom, Quana Morris, said she'd had an ultrasound image taken during her pregnancy and knew he'd have extra fingers.

"We were counting them on the sonogram," she told the Daily News.

The extra toes, though, were a surprise.

Jeshuah is getting a hand from his doctors to deal with the bonus digits, which are outside the pinkies and little toes and serve no purpose. He'll have them surgically removed in a couple of weeks, his mom said.

I am making a prediction. The last words Jeshuah will hear before dying a violent death will be - Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

Labels: ,


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Playground Maintenance 

Before and after a playground maintenance contract -

The tire swing in the two photographs above is a good example of the difference between a playground without regular maintenance and one with regular maintenance. This particular playground was one of my first customers. There are two significant differences in the condition of the playground. Look closely to see if you can spot the differences.

#1 We added fall mats in the immediate fall zone of the tire swing. The mats take the abuse directly under the swing. You may notice in the before photograph that the all-too-common pit has formed under the tire swing.

#2 We turned the mulch. Most individuals would say we added new mulch. That is not correct. We simply turned the mulch that was already present on the playground. This playground had excellent retaining walls and good drainage. Because the playground was installed correctly, we simply had to turn the existing mulch. Over time, we would have added a little mulch at regular intervals. But most playgrounds I see have been built with poor-to-no drainage or retaining walls. The need to replenish the loose-fill fall surfacing is constant.

The playground fire in Arlington, TX, was caused by failure to turn the mulch and poor drainage. That can only occur when maintenance is lacking and the playground is installed incorrectly.

Labels: , ,


Adult supervision is required 

A 13 year-old girl is dead and her 10 year-old passenger has suffered major injuries while riding an ATV into a mineshaft.

From the story: "A 13-year-old girl who went missing while riding an all-terrain vehicle was found dead in a mine shaft, while her 10-year-old companion was rescued with serious injuries early Sunday, authorities said."

In case you are wondering what the point of this post is - ADULT SUPERVISION IS REQUIRED. Read the last statement slowly. Let it sink in. I did not state that the point of this post is ATVs are unsafe. True but not the problem here. I did not state that the point of this post is that mineshafts are unsafe. True but also not the problem here.

I work most days with my older brother on playground construction projects and the odd residential remodeling project. We passed a 3 wheel ATV for sale on the side of the road. I remarked that I had not seen a "3 wheeler" in many years. My brother responded that he had owned several over the last few years (none curently) because they can be bought cheap. He would not let his son or step-daughters ride the 3 wheeler ever, but that adults can and should be allowed to ride.

If you are unaware, you can read more here. The important information is:

Safety issues with 3-wheel ATVs caused all manufacturers to switch to 4-wheeled models in the late '80s, and 3-wheel models ended production in 1987, due to consent decrees between the major manufacturers and the Consumer Product Safety Commission -- the result of legal battles over safety issues among consumer groups, the manufacturers and CPSC. The lighter weight of the 3-wheel models made them popular with some expert riders. Cornering is more challenging than with a 4-wheeled machine because leaning into the turn is even more important. Operators may roll over if caution isn't used. The front end of 3-wheelers obviously has a single wheel making it lighter, and flipping backwards is a potential hazard, especially when climbing hills. Rollovers may also occur when traveling down a steep incline. The consent decrees expired in 1997, allowing manufacturers to once again make and market 3-wheel models, though there are very few marketed today.

When I was an adolescent, I wanted a 3 wheeler. My parents FORTUNATELY did not have the money to indulge us (I am the middle of 3 boys in my immediate family). We were aware of constant reports of young people dying on 3 wheelers. The machines just were not safe if used as advertised. More critical, young riders were more likely to die in rollovers. Read above that leaning into a turn is important on a 3 wheeler. We would hear of the most recent incident and the details would be near identical. A young operator and an even younger passenger were killed while riding unsupervised in their grandparent's/uncle'/aunt's field. Oh the tragedy.

Look. Adding a fourth wheel has made the common ATV far safer to ride. Rollovers are not common and deathrates are down. However, ADULT SUPERVISION IS STILL REQUIRED. A 13 year-old should not be operating an ATV. It is in the instruction manual and written on the ATV in a conspicuous place. A 10 year-old should not be allowed to ride with such a young operator. The mineshaft was never a safe playground. The ATV of today is designed for safer handling but is still inherently dangerous to operate. Young children need supervision. ADULT SUPERVISION IS REQUIRED.

Labels: ,


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com