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Swing Yanked From Park Slope Playground After Children Hurt

By Leslie Albrecht | September 12, 2013 7:35am
 Parents said children were injured on a swing at a recently renovated playground on Sixth Avenue and 18th Street.
Children Injured at South Park Slope Playground
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PARK SLOPE — A swing at a newly renovated South Slope playground was removed Tuesday after at least two children fractured their ankles on the equipment, DNAinfo New York has learned.

The Parks Department took down a big green swing near the entrance to Slope Park on Sixth Avenue and 18th Street, "while we look into this matter," a spokeswoman said.

The park reopened in June 2013 after a lengthy renovation.

While the Parks Department spokeswoman did not respond to questions about how many children have reported injuries at the playground, DNAinfo New York found the families of two children injured recently.

"It's a brand new playground and this shouldn't happen," said mom Beth Frazier, who said her 8-year-old daughter Erin broke her right ankle on the swing on Monday, within minutes of another child doing the same thing. 

"It's so scary," Frazier said. "What I'm concerned about is how many other playgrounds have similar equipment, and if there is other equipment like this in other parks, do they know about it?"

The Parks Department did not respond to an inquiry about whether there are similar swings at other playgrounds.

Erin Frazier was injured when the P.S. 295 fourth-grader was eagerly testing out the brand new playground after her first day of school, her mother said.

Erin joined some friends on the swing while her mom sat on a nearby bench. A few minutes later, one of Erin's pals came rushing over to tell Frazier that her child was on the ground beneath the swing, Beth Frazier said.

Frazier raced over to find Erin unable to stand up or wiggle the toes on her right foot. Frazier scooped up her child and headed for her car to drive to the emergency room at New York Methodist Hospital.

But as Frazier was leaving Slope Park, she was shocked to run into another mom also cradling a child with an injured leg — a victim of the same swing, she said.

Frazier drove everyone to the hospital, where both kids were treated for fractured ankles and fitted with soft casts and crutches, she said. The parent of the other injured child could not be reached for comment.

Frazier said the injury has been a blow to Erin, a dedicated karate student who loves being active and was planning a dance party for her ninth birthday later this month.

The concerned mom immediately called every official she could think of, from City Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, who helped pay for the park's renovation, to 311, to Community Board 7.

P.S. 295 PTA president Amy Janzen warned teachers and families about the dangerous swing after Frazier's injury, and several parents contacted 311, she said.

"[Slope Park] is where every single P.S. 295 family goes after school lets out," Janzen said. "It's horrifying. It was closed for over a year and everyone was super pumped that it reopened, and to have this happen was super frustrating."

Logs show that there have been three 311 complaints about the swing's safety — one on Sept. 9, one in August, and one on June 27, the day the park reopened, a 311 spokesman said.

The complaints "seem all to have been closed in a timely fashion," the spokesman said.

Days before Erin Frazier's injury, Park Slope mom Nora Posadas said she saw her daughter Jaqueline catch her foot on rubber matting beneath the swing, painfully twisting her ankle.

Posadas said she rushed her daughter, 8-year-old Jaqueline Posadas, a P.S. 10 third-grader, to New York Methodist Hospital on Sept. 4. Doctors treated Jaqueline for a fractured ankle and told her they have treated a spate of similar injuries from the same swing recently, she said.

A spokeswoman for the hospital couldn't verify that information.

Now both injured girls are waiting to see orthopedic surgeons who will tell them how long they'll need to be in casts. Jaqueline was planning a busy fall of swimming and gymnastics, but now she's trying to figure out how to navigate on crutches, her mom said.

"I had to go and cancel everything," Posadas said. "She was looking forward to the swimming team and gymnastics, and now she's just sitting home."

When Posadas and her daughter drove past the park Tuesday morning before the swing had been removed, little Jaqueline was surprised to see the swing still there, her mom said.

"She said, 'Mama, I can't believe the swing is still there. Do they want other kids to break their ankles?'"