Ever since the Admiralty Park playground opened on Oct 28, many Singaporeans have been whizzing down to try its 26 new slides.
But amid its trending popularity, some parents have raised concerns about safety there.
“When the park gets crowded, it’s actually quite scary,” says Young Parent’s art director, Joycelyn Koh, who took her two kids, aged seven and 10, there on Nov 4, a Saturday.
She explains: “Kids do not know how long they have to wait before it’s safe for them to slide down.
“The slides are very high and there are shades blocking their view – making it difficult to see if the person in front of them has reached the end.”
The slides Joycelyn is referring to are the Double Barrel Slides (pictured below), which are billed as the longest and largest tube slides in a public park here.
They are 23m long, and go up to 9m high (around three storeys). There’s also a Net Climber in between where children can climb their way up to the top.
While the Net Climber may just be a simple climbing structure, it’s another example of the potential for playground injuries as well.
“Many kids linger around the bottom of these slides while waiting to climb up the net, or for their friends to come down the slide. And it’s very dangerous as riders usually speed down due to the structure’s tall height,” adds Joycelyn.
She also recounts an incident where she witnessed a mum “flying off” the slide with a tot in arm.
“The mum was in shock as she landed on the padded ground, and her child was crying,” she says.
In another incident reported by Shin Min Daily News, a 24 year old woman, Ms Jiang, sustained injuries to her head, shoulders, arms, thighs and spine while going down the slide.
She paid $52 to have her injuries treated by a tradition Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner.
“The slide was very steep and the rate of descending was very fast. Out of fear, I tried to use both my hands for support, but I still lost control in the end and was thrown off the slide,” she says.
Her sister, too, had bruises on her leg after going down the same slide, and other riders had trouble controlling their speed as well.
When Shin Min reporters visited the park on Nov 5 at 6pm, they found that the slides are very popular, and visitors had to wait for half an hour before they get to ride them.
They also witnessed a mother and her young daughter falling after landing from the slide.
“I hope that my experience will serve to remind other visitors to be careful even as they are enjoying the facilities. I also hope the authorities can implement more safety features to prevent others from getting hurt,” adds Ms Jiang.
According to NParks’ website, the Family Terracing Play (where the Double Barrel Slides are located at) are recommended for children aged five to 12, while the Junior Play – which features slides at a safer height, caters to the younger ones aged two to five.
There’s also an Adventure Play area for teens aged 13 and up.
On Nov 9, The Straits Times reported that NParks and the playground’s contractor have advised parents not to use the slides.
Ms Agnes Au, general manager of Semec Enterprise, which supplied the playground equipment at the park, says: “The reasons why it isn’t safe for adults to slide down are clear – a heavier weight will lead to a faster speed, and a bigger build is more likely to hit the sides of the slides.
“In a playground, such small scrapes and bruises are part of play and most were sustained because of improper use,” she adds.
Ms Au says all play equipment at the park “are designed and complied with international safety standard and verified by a third party playground safety inspector”.
Mr Chuah Hock Seong, NParks’ group director of parks , says slides meant for children should be used correctly.
“For this purpose, we have signage and have also stationed staff to provide visitors with information on how to use the equipment correctly, based on the recommended age group.
“We will continue to observe the use of the equipment and will make tweaks where necessary,” he said, adding as an example how yellow boxes have been drawn at the end of the tubed slides to remind users to stay clear of the area.
An NParks sign displayed near the slides said that the play equipment was designed for those five to 12, and that the park authority would not be held responsible for any injuries.
Two Semec Enterprise employees were there to ensure safety, such as moving people away from the landing zone, and regulating the flow of people going on the slides.
Additional reporting by Shin Min Daily News
(Photos and videos: The Straits Times, Shin Min Daily News and Joycelyn Koh)