Families of Children Hurt on Park Slope “Oodle” Suing the City

JJ Byrne Playground

Park Slope children play at JJ Byrne Playground. Injuries at another neighborhood playground have led to a suit by area parents. (Photo by Tobias Salinger)

By Angela Johnson

The Parks Department has removed the Oodle swing in South Slope playground in Brooklyn Saturday after at least ten children have suffered broken bones while playing on the equipment in September. The parents say their children got hurt when their legs were caught as they tried to swing on the low-slung stylized swing.

Slope Park on Sixth Avenue and 18th Street recently reopened in June after undergoing renovations.

Attempts to reach the Parks Department have been unsuccessful. Robert Kelner, the lawyer representing four of the children hurt on the swing, says the city has not responded to the lawsuit but the parents of the children demand answers.

“I don’t know whether the city ignored the instructions and set it up improperly, or if there were insufficient instructions from manufacturer,” said Kelner during a phone interview.  “Ten children have broken legs on the same swing in two months, this is an outrage. “

The swing manufacturer, Landscape Structures, denies responsibility for the injuries sustained by the children using the equipment.

“Neither Landscape Structures, nor any local playground consultants in the New York area installed the swing,” said Landscape Structures spokeswoman Tameka Davis.  “An outside contractor installed the swing”

Parents at Eleanor Roosevelt Park in the Bedford Stuyvesant are of Brooklyn say they are keeping an extra close eye on their children playing in the park.

“You just have to watch them,” Said Seneca Green, a lifelong of Bedford Stuyvesant and mother of three children. “When my kids come home bruised and beaten up it’s because they are being rough, I’m glad it hasn’t been because the equipment is messed up.”

Lawyer Robert Kelner makes the distinction between kids being kids and negligence that will cause injury.

“There are different kinds of injures that will happen on a playground,” said Kelner.  “Kids running and playing, a child could sprain an ankle playing football or soccer, it is expected.”

But Kelner says parents do not expect there to be a failure with the set up and core safety of the equipment.

As Seneca Green sits on the bench rocking her 13-month-old daughter Krysten she keeps a sharp eye on her rambunctious sons Xavier and Malcom playing on the swings and slide.

“They are the ones that put this stuff together,” Said Green “If they don’t know what they are doing then they need to find people that do.”

According to the company website, Landscape Structures is the premier provider of innovative park and playground equipment is committed to creating inspiring play experiences for children while honoring the environment, and is used in more than 80,000 playgrounds worldwide.