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August 2, 2012     The Ponchatoula Times
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August 2, 2012

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THE PONCHATOULA TIMES, AUGUST 2, 2012, PAGE 6 Hidden villains at your playground (part III) Are we having fun yet (safely, of course)? By Don Stedman To review the two previous articles on "Hidden Villains at Your Playgrounds", let's identify and define those villains. First, there is the improper protective fall surface, which is the material used around and under the play equipment to absorb the impact of the fall. This directly ties into inadequate use zone and insufficient equipment spacing that causes overcrowding of the play areas. Then, there were hazards due to protrusions or poor design causing entanglement of cloth- ing or items that may be worn to the playground and entrap- ment of a child's head or body. The consequences of these hid- den villains can be disabling and even fatal. As you continue to look for the hidden villains on your play equipment and the play area, let's consider condi- tions that can harbor villains that are not as serious as the previous hazards, but can cause injuries and ruin a happy day at the playground. Tripping hazards that are commonly found in play areas are tree roots, embedded rocks, exposed concrete footings of the play equipment and even, abrupt changes in surface el- evations. Moving components on the playground equipment can be a hidden villain. Merry- go-rounds, seesaws and even swings should be checked regu- larly for worn, loose, missing or damaged parts. These situa- Donald P. Steadman, C.P.S.I., C.W.C.P. BREC Sr. Risk Manager tions can cause sharp edges and pinch points that could catch or crush a child's finger if not cor- rected in time. Then, there are the age-in- appropriate activities. As men- tioned before, most equipment is designed for different ages that separate the pre-school children (2-5 years of age) from the school age children (5-12 years of age). A four year old child should not be left unat- tended to climb to an eight foot platform to negotiate a slide or other equipment. They can lose their balance or be rushed by older children, causing them to fall from that height. This equipment was designed for school age children who have the capability and confidence to safely enter and exit the play equipment. Likewise, older chil- dren should not use play equip- ment designed for pre-school children. Twice I have heard that the Fire Department had to be called out to playground areas to rescue a twelve year old child too large for a baby style swing. This type of swing seat, designed for an infant to be swung by the parents, looks like a big thick plastic "Hug- gies" diaper hanging by the two chains from the equipment. The swing had to be cut down at the chains, and then, both seats had to be greased so that the large child could escape from this posterior hanging ordeal. Luckily, in these cases the only identifiable injury was pride. Lack of guardrails and protective barriers will expose children to preventable falls to another level or play sur- face. Protective barriers should be installed on pre-school age equipment when the play sur- face is 30 inches or more from the lower level. For school age equipment, protective barriers are recommended on heights 48 inches or more from the lower  Louisiana gas this week Average retail gasoline pric- es in Louisiana have risen 1.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.30/g yes- terday. This compares with the national average that has in-  creased 0.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.50/g, accord- ing to gasoline pric website LouisianaGasPrices.com. , ..!.ne!udinag .the " change i n gas prices in Louisiana during the past week, prices yesterday were 29.4 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 24.1 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 12.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 20.2 iU,nilimited Renovations & Lawn Service 240 Ce' t,0f, I centsper gallnlwer thanthisday one year ago. many lptllttTl "While motorists in S j 1 I regions saw gasoline prices sta- bilize over the last week, it's 'a0' , $)'t  I only a matter of time before last 985-386 4242 610 W. Pine- Ponchatoula Tune Ups Electrical Air Conditioning Fuel Injection Brakes Computer Engine Service Carburetor Advertise with us CALL: 985/386-2877 Hours: Mondaythru Friday 7:30 am, to 6 pm week's rise in wholesale prices translates to a continued march: higher on the retail level," said . GasBuddy.com Senior Petro- leum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. i "The late week ally in stocks: seemed to also fuel commodities higher, leading me to believe ' that pump prices will again pick up over the next week," DeHaan said. About LouisianaGasPrices. com GasBuddy operates Loui- sianaGasPrices.com and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 ' gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addi- tion, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 20 mil- lion times to help motorists find gasoline prices in their area. surface. The largest opening between barriers on the same level is 15 inches. Keep in mind that an opening between 3 inch- es and 9 inches can cause head or body entrapment. If your playground equip- ment is very old, you may have equipment not recommended for use by the Consumer Prod- uct Safety Commission. Trapeze bars and long swinging exercise rings are considered athletic equipment and should not be used at playground areas. Also, Metal animal figure swings and multiple occupancy swings have been associated with nu- merous accidents and injuries at the playgrounds. I have seen head injuries, fractures and contusions with these types of swings. Free swinging rope that can form a loop should also be removed from the play area. Remember 'WIurphy's Law", If it can happen, it will happen. These villains at your play- ground can be effectively elimi- nated by the "Triangle of Play- ground Safety", professional design and installation of the equipment, regular and prop- er maintenance and parental/ adult supervision. For recom- mendations to safe playground equipment see the guidelines from Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) for public and residential play equipment and the specifica- tions from the American Society of Testing and Materials. JACKSON-VAUGHAN AGENCY INC. Celebrating 90 years of service to Tangipahoa Parish 121 West Pine - Ponchatoula 985.386.3511 Call Us For All Your Insurance Needs SPARKY WELLES - President & Manager - Tax holiday From page 1 * The customer buys and ac- cepts delivery of eligible prop- erty; * The customer places prop- erty on layaway; * The customer acquires property that was previously placed on layaway; or * The customer places an or- der for immediate delivery, even if delivery must be delayed, pro- vided that the customer has not requested delayed shipment. Local sales taxes apply un- less the local taxing authority allows its own exemption. The sales tax holiday does not apply to: * Vehicles subject to license and title * Meals prepared for con- sumption on premises or to-go * Taxable services such as ho- tel occupancy, laundry services, printing services, telecommu- nication services, the furnish- ing of cold storage space, leases or rentals of tangible personal property, repairs to tangible personal property, and admis- sion to athletic, amusement, or recreational facilities or events For more information about the 2012 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday, visit www. revenue.louisiana, gov/taxholi- day. Bill/ mai__nstree00 II, ONGII'A,[OUI,A00$j #Bi;SWNE, n,7 ...... 985.386.7870 Sell or Buy Anything You want Just $6.49 for 20 words -- Ask about Statewide Classifieds -- Call 98/386-2877 or editor@ponchatoula.com