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Do you think adding a pulley to a playstructure is hazardous?

1092 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Marsupialmom
We have a wooden swingset with a treehouse/slide area -- the platform is five feet off the ground . My son loves to hoist things up there. We're looking at something like this (DH would probably make it, though):
But I can't decide if it's too dangerous (kids getting tangled in the ropes). Any thoughts?
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Well, I think in this case it was actually a jump rope that was somehow tied to the structure, so not exactly what you're talking about, but still, this story has made me very wary of ropes on play structures:
What a sad story. We have tree climbing ropes (left by our arborist) in our play area. My son ties great knots and does wonderful things with them.

I think with caution ropes and pulleys would be fine.

My kids don't tend to play ALONE in our play area.

My older son (7) is allowed out there with friends and no supervision (he's not going to open the gate and leave the yard) so I'd assume a friend would let me know if there was danger.

My four year old is NOT allowed in the play area without supervision (often just me sitting on a deck out of sight of the kids playing, listening to them) because she's not trustworthy in terms of leaving the yard without asking.

So I would say the answer depends upon how you use your play structure. Older kids using it with other friends should be safe. Older kids alone... will they WANT to play alone? If so it may be an issue. Younger kids... supervision always (same refrain you hear all the time).

How sad for the family in the above post. A tragic accident. No one at fault; no one can be ever vigilant to all dangers, but how horrible for the family and friends of the little girl.
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I'd be pretty nervous about this, BUT it does sound like fun to play with. I wonder if you could make it detachable so you could put it away and children could ONLY play with it while an adult is watching.

ETA: just a note that after reading the stories about kids being entangled in mini-blinds I wouldn't count on other kids reporting an accident fast enough.
How good are your kids about following directions?
Usually if there is something hazardous being introduced to our home (trailing extension cords, or whatever) I show ds how to use, or be safe with the object, ask him to show me, to be sure he understands, and explain to him how he could be severly hurt or killed if he uses it improperly. Sometimes this ends up with him saying: "you do it, mama", sometimes he really gets it and is fine. Ds is not constantly supervised,( I mean, I might be in the other room), but, knock wood, we have not really had any accidents.

I would say, if you feel that your children will respect and follow your instruction as to using the pulley, then by all means install it.
If you made the rope a continuous loop and ran the bottom through something u-shaped anchored into the ground ( I'm envisioning something like a croquet wicket in shape) then it would be alot harder (but not impossible) to get entangled in.
The problem is, kids rarely play with a toy the exact way it was intended. So, it might only be a matter of time before one of the kids decides to slide down it, or climb on it.

Just look at what happens when you give a group of pre-schoolers or young grade schoolers a jump rope. They don't jump. They tie each other up with it, and then run through the yard dragging each other around. There isn't really anything wrong with misusing a jump rope, but it's what might happen when the kids are alone, and nobody notices.

I would be leery of that, just because you can't be outside watching them the whole time. Especially if your yard is fenced, kids deserve some play time without being hovered over. My other fear would be that it looks like an expensive toy, and it will likely be broken soon. Probably by a neighbor kid, but, kids do silly things. It's part of playing.

I would probably tie a bucket to a jump rope, and throw it over one pole. Then I would take it down when I wasn't going to be outside.
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Thanks for the feedback -- DH and I have decided it's definitely too dangerous for our kiddos. Our backyard is completely enclosed, so I do leave DS out there alone. He would have a blast hauling things up to his fort, but we'll just have to use a rope when an adult is with him.
I would ad a pully system to a play structure but I would go to a hardware store and build it myself. I home school and it would be a wonderful learning experience for the kids. Plus my son is the child that would hurt himself trying to carry to much up at one time. He would have an arm full of stuff climbing up the ladder and slip. My dd would be the ones to throw stuff up and hit her brother trying to catch it causing stitches
(If it sound like it has been from a BTDT perscpective it is)
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