Recalled slide to be replaced soon in Duluth's Playfront ParkTwo months after a slide at Playfront Park was recalled by the manufacturer, it is still in place — but its replacement is due to arrive next week.
By: Jana Hollingsworth, Duluth News Tribune
Two months after a slide at Playfront Park was recalled by the manufacturer, it is still in place — but its replacement is due to arrive next week.
The new piece of playground equipment is meant to replace the Slalom Glider, which was voluntarily recalled by its manufacturer, Landscape Structures of Delano, Minn., in February.
Eric Mead of Knife River, who has two young daughters, knew about the slide
recall and said he was surprised to see it still in place at Playfront Park last weekend.
“I was like, ‘Oh my word, it’s still there,’ ” he said. “Someone isn’t doing what they need to be doing and protecting the kids.”
But Landscape Structures asked that the recalled slide not be removed until its replacement, a “pod balancer,” arrives, said Tom Kasper, a supervisor with the city’s operations and maintenance department.
“They are saying that if a fall zone is properly maintained underneath, then there isn’t risk,” Kasper said. “Injuries that have occurred have been where kids have fallen off where there wasn’t a proper base.”
The pod balancer “teeters back and forth as you stand on it,” Kasper said.
Duluth’s playground has several inches of poured rubber beneath the slide that serve as a cushion. Kasper said the city hasn’t received any complaints about injuries caused by the slide in the two years it’s been in place.
The twisting, plastic slide — the only one in a Duluth city park — was the reported cause of 16 injury reports for children younger than 8, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Mead, who wrote an e-mail of complaint that was forwarded to the city, said Friday he’s glad the slide will be replaced.
To use the slide, children are to straddle it with their hands and legs as it takes them to the ground from a height of 6¼ feet. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said it lacks a “transition platform” on the top and sides of the chute, and children can fall when moving from the ladder to the slide and when descending the chute.
Landscape Structures says the slide is intended for children ages 8 to 12.
Kasper said the company is replacing 5,000 of the slides throughout the world.
There are no Slalom Gliders on Duluth school district playgrounds.
News Tribune staff writer Christa Lawler contributed to this report.