About the Scoville playground ...

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Spot on assessment of the new Scoville Park [Grading the Scoville Park upgrade, Ken Trainor, Viewpoints, July 31]. Why in the world would they install those cement cubes? Don't we go to the park to get away from cement?

Also, my wife and I have three children, age 3 and under, so we spend a lot of time in the new tot lot. We love it, but there are three safety issues that the park district can and should address:

1) Install a gate between the tot lot and tennis courts. Little ones run onto the court all the time endangering them and the players.

2) Completely enclose the fence around the tot lot instead of leaving it open on the south side. Again, little ones run off quickly.

3) These same tots run from the jungle gym toward the swings regularly. They get hit when parents pushing their kids can't stop the swings fast enough to avoid a collision.

Since they can't restructure the lot so the swings aren't so close to the jungle gym (the Randolph Street Lot is laid out very well) perhaps a small fence around the swing area will eliminate collisions that could eventually send a child to the hospital.

Cisco Cotto

Oak Park

Reader Comments

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Oh my  

Posted: October 24th, 2013 9:45 AM

So the right-wing radio guy is calling for the government to create a literal nanny state in a public park to protect his own children. Oh the irony.


Posted: August 14th, 2013 11:46 PM

Watch, it is the judgmental people like you who really trouble me. I raised my son before the arrival of i-things. Avoided the mom gabfests and never took my eyes off of him. But he was a darter, and in some of the parks it was hard to keep up. We taught right from wrong, gave consequences daily, and eventually he learned. Some kids have poor impulse control, and it takes a little longer than others. It's a tough issue and not so uncommon. Consider yourself lucky to have avoided it. Be kind.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 5:20 PM

Try not being glued to your genius phone and maybe you'll be able to keep track of your children. Parents have for eons...

Watch your kids  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 2:54 PM

My "lol" was sarcastic. I don't think you are funny at all, you refuse to consider the flaws in your argument, you hide behind your pseudo-degree (psychology? you're bragging about that?) and your entitled me-first attitude is part of what makes raising kids in Oak Park often unpleasant.

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 2:46 PM

I think they put fences around school playgrounds because of the high ratio of kids to playground monitors (teachers). The PD is not responsible for monitoring the kids, the adult who accompanies the kids are. If this is going to be a liability situation, perhaps the PD should just get rid of the playground.

Preschool parent  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 2:35 PM

Come on, I save the ipad for at home when I need a cheap babysitter while I'm doing nothing but watching old episodes of Big Brother all day!

Watch your kids  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 2:29 PM

I would prefer you put your ipad down and watched your kids. "lol".

Preschool parent  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 2:19 PM

Watch, I have both a psychology degree and a firm belief in the tort system. Your ignorance about both child behavior and how negligence lawsuits work I find insufferable so the feeling is mutual. We'll call it a draw. Unless you care to continue annoying each other? I'm fine with that, too. Ha!

Watch your kids  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 2:07 PM

Keep blaming others and making excuses for your own inability to set limits for your child and see where that gets you. Sue the village when your kid falls on his bike on the sidewalk and sue D97 when your child trips playing foursquare. Sue OPRF when he gets hit by a baseball and sue his college when he drinks too much at a party. You're the first person to raise a child, and no one else's experience matters. The world revolves around you at this very particular moment in life. Insufferable.

Preschool parent  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 1:54 PM

Are you a child psychologist, Watch? I'd love to have a discussion with you about behavior modification and the effects of rewards versus punishment in early childhood. lol What are your thoughts on timeouts versus sticker charts? You should get paid for this awesome child-rearing guidance!

Watch your kids  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 1:36 PM

Kids can learn that their actions have consequences. It might take a couple times of "tough love" but if you take away something they want, they do learn. You're not the first parent ever who ever raised a child in OP. And kids do actually get hurt in this village, every day, and no one ever sued the village for their own negligent parenting. Most kids get hit running into the street in front of their homes. Should we put fences on all the parkways to prevent this? Listen to yourself.


Posted: August 14th, 2013 1:29 PM

I walk by the new park everyday and it is packed. And everyday parents sit on benches and check their phones and tablets. And now they are complaining because they can't enjoy their new wifi in peace but have to look up to make sure their kids haven't wandered off? I really fear for this next generation, if the parents are trying to justify this kind of nonsense. They are literally addicts, and they have no idea how they are hurting themselves and their children.

Preschool parent  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 1:24 PM

Ha, ha ha! "Next time he'll listen." That's funny. Now I know you definitely don't have a 3 year old at home. Thanks for the bad parenting advice though! And, to the other comment, if a child gets hurt you know everybody is going to complain "why wasn't there a fence up?" Safety is about being proactive. And, yes, if it's something that could have been prevented by a fence being up the PD may be negligent.

to preschool parent  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 1:16 PM

why would you think that the PD would be sued because of a child running out of the park? idiotic

Watch your kids  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 1:15 PM

You know what a three year CAN understand? The word "no". You may have to say it over and over again, and most importantly, follow up with consequences. If your kid runs onto the tennis court, tell them no. If they do it again, leave the park immediately. Your kid will have a fit, but the next time, he'll listen. No is an important lesson for kids, and it's YOUR job, not the park districts' job, to teach it. WATCH. YOUR. KIDS.

Preschool parent  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 1:02 PM

We're talking very young kids here who even with adult supervision don't understand danger, Watch. Wenonah, Randolph, Lindberg all have full fences with gates. Which is why we go. We have options so it's no big deal to me. Though all it takes is one lawsuit for the PD to see that installing fences would have been the better option. Seems silly to open themselves to that kind of liability.

Watch your kids  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 12:36 PM

MOST parks in Oak Park don't have child/dog fences around them! Barrie tot lot, Taylor, Fox, Field, Holmes, etc. The only park I can think of that is entirely fenced in is the Randolph totlot, and that's probably because of the high amounts of car traffic. I'm not sure a kid getting hit by a tennis ball or walking up to a leashed dog represents actual harm. It's an opportunity for you to put down your iphone and explain how to be safe around dogs. Or is the govt supposed to do that too?

Preschool parent  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 11:45 AM

I don't disagree with your philosophy, Watch. But the posted age on these tot lots is, what, 2-5 yrs? A kid falling off the slide is one thing. Running up to a dog walking through the park might be another. Anyone from the PD care to jump in with why other parks are fenced but Scoville is not? I would have thought it was a no-brainer since that seems to be the trend & most parents like the fence.

really more fences  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 11:43 AM

I have two children. They were once small too. When I took them to the park I continually stopped them from running into swings, I watched them so they didn't leave the park area. However, I wasn't constantly on my iphone back then either. If you want a fenced in feeling, let them play in your yard.

Watch your kids  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 11:28 AM

Look I fought to close part of the fence around the barrie tot lot after it opened. It was open on the north and active kids could escape in an instant and suddenly be in the intersection of garfield and lombard. I get wanting to keep our kids alive. But part of why we have playgrounds is so kids can learn their own limits, to be aware of their environment. Learning how not to walk into a swing is a sometimes painful but necessary lesson. Kids don't need dog fences around them all the time.


Posted: August 14th, 2013 11:21 AM

Don't these children understand there are 27 other unused tennis courts in the village they can scamper onto without interfering with any gameplay?!?! Just say no...to tennis courts...

Preschool parent  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 11:12 AM

We're at one of the (fenced) tot lots nearly every day and my experience is that very few parents aren't watching their kids. Most kids this age do need active supervision. Frankly, the problems usually come from older kids who are unsupervised using the equipment intended for younger children. We can't make the tot lots 100% safe. But we can avoid stupid safety errors like not fencing.

Watch your kids  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 10:43 AM

And once again, new parents assume that they are the first to ever have active children and no one understands their suffering. Do you not realize that many generations of Oak Parkers have raised active boys in these same partially-fenced parks? Fences prevent kids from running into traffic in that split second they can and do take off. But if they take off toward a grassy lawn or tennis court, it's your job to put the iphone down, get off your butt and get them yourselves.

Preschool parent  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 10:43 AM

Thanks, Safety, that was going to be my general reply, too...clearly, "Really" doesn't have a 3 year old.

safety first  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 10:35 AM

The judgmental attitude of some toward parents of active small children never fails to amaze me. Some pre-school age kids, especially boys, are just wired to run. It has NOTHING to do with parenting skill, and the only other way to prevent some little ones from darting into harm's way is to put them on a leash. Would you like that better, anti-fence know-it-all poster?

really more fences?  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 10:16 AM

How about watch you kids more closely, or better yet, play with them

Preschool parent  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 9:11 AM

Completely agree, Cisco! It was a mistake to not put a fence around the Scoville Tot Lot. Kids wander off and it's unsafe for that age group. (Fortunately, almost every other playground we go to is gated.)

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