Safety consultant finds various problems at San Diego public parks


A National Playground Safety consultant found something wrong with every public park he visited in San Diego.
The 10News I-Team and Dr. Carl Abraham uncovered problems at parks all over San Diego -- problems that could injure your child.
10News spoke to several mothers at Balboa Park and asked them to point out what they consider unsafe where their children play.
Local mom Ahlea Kadre told 10News, "I don't like that there is no enclosement."
Local mom Dita Quinones noted she did not like the amount of trash at her local park.
A third mom, Nova Conte, said she was also worried about garbage. 
"Stepping on things like needles or glass," said Conte.
Abraham said ground cover is essential in keeping children safe. Safety standards by the Consumer Product Safety Commission say the material covering the ground needs to be 12 inches deep.
"What are they going to fall on? Nothing but a hard ground," Abraham said.
Every year in the U.S., 200,000 children are reported injured at playgrounds.
Abraham, who has consulted on hundreds of playground injury cases, said, "Why have a playground if you don't maintain it?"
At two play areas at Naval Training Center Park in Liberty Station, Abraham found problems with some of the equipment that could be harmful to children and a lack of instructions for parents. 
"What we want are the bars coming down completely," he said about a swing bridge, so a child doesn't fall out the bottom.
One piece of equipment was blocked off, but Abraham said, "Any child is able to remove this and use this activity."
At Rancho Mission Canyon Neighborhood Park in San Carlos, Abraham said the older equipment was not safe.
He specifically pointed out a chain-link ladder, saying, "If they fall, their limbs can become tangled in this ladder and they can severely injure themselves."
He also said on a hot day the park's metal slide could heat up to more than 140 degrees and can "cause second- or third-degree burns to a young child."
A tire swing at the park also raised a red flag.
10News took Abraham to Cabrillo Heights Neighborhood Park in Serra Mesa, where a slide was blocked off with a sign and chains.
Abraham said cracked plastic on the slide was the biggest problem.
"It's not whether a park is large or small, it's whether a park is safe," said Abraham.
At a San Ysidro park on W. Park Avenue, the equipment was old and without a ground cover. Abraham said in the poorest neighborhoods, there wasn't much for the kids to do.
"It's completely unacceptable," said Abraham.
He said the ground makes climbing anything at the San Ysidro park dangerous.
"If they fall on their head, they could end up with severe head or brain injuries," said Abraham.
Abraham's biggest problem was what kids were doing on their own. Children were seen turning swings upside down so they could fit on them or going up the slide the wrong way.
"They are constantly improvising and exposing themselves to dangers that they shouldn't," said Abraham.
"All children should be given an equal opportunity to play in a safe environment," Abraham added.
10News made a public records request for the most recent safety inspections of all the parks observed. 10News has not yet received those documents.
City Parks and Recreation director Stacey Lometico told 10News they take safety at all of their parks very seriously. 
They already made changes or have plans to upgrade the equipment at some of the parks 10News visited.
Watch 10News at 5 p.m. on Wednesday to find out what changes they made to the parks.
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