By Julie Shapiro
BATTERY PARK CITY — A tire swing that injured at least two children in a Battery Park City playground will return with new warning signs within the next two weeks.
A small group of Community Board 1 members made the decision after learning that nearly identical swings have been installed without incident around the city, including a dozen in Central Park.
"Is there something peculiar about Battery Park City where we’re not prepared to take a risk everyone else is willing to take?" asked Jeff Galloway, a Battery Park City resident and CB1 member.
"Kids will get hurt in this playground. Kids get injured all the time. Is this risk greater than other risks?"
The tire swing has gone up and down several times since two 8-year-old girls smacked their heads against the wooden crossbeam while riding it on May 28, the day the new playground in West Thames Park opened.
Matthew Fenton, a Battery Park City resident whose daughter sustained an egg-sized lump on her head in the May accident, urged the community board and State Department of Transportation, which built the park, not to put the swing back up.
"It’s dangerous and someone is going to get hurt again," Fenton said at the sparsely attended board meeting Monday night.
Board members, though, said reinstalling the swing was the best option, since it meets national safety standards and State DOT does not have enough money to replace the swing with another piece of play equipment.
Signe Nielsen, the playground’s architect, will design warning signs with both pictures and words, explaining that those who push the swing too hard will bump their heads.
Nielsen and State DOT will also study wrapping the wooden crossbeam in padding, but they are concerned that doing so could open them up to liability if children are injured in spite of the extra cushion.
Anthony Notaro, a CB1 member who chaired Monday night’s meeting, said children would figure out how to use the tire swing safely.
"If a child touches a stove, he learns very quickly," Notaro said. "Any child can get hurt on any piece of equipment. We haven’t seen a significant danger yet."