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Shortage of staff poses risks to kids at parks and playgrounds

By Echo Hu  (Shanghai Daily)

09:55, May 29, 2013

A severe shortage of staff at children's parks and playgrounds are a cause of concern amid reports of accidents as well as poorly maintained venues, Shanghai's consumer rights protection commission said yesterday.

Among the major irritant for parents is the shortage of staff at the amusement facilities which pose a risk to the children on the rides, the commission said in a report released yesterday.

The report was based on a three-month survey of 733 parents who rated the satisfaction level of the amusement facilities in 10 areas - both in downtown and the suburbs.

Commission officials also visited some of these facilities themselves to get a first-hand impression of their own.

They found the children's playgrounds were severely short of staff and first-aid workers. Some workers at the outdoor facilities were lacking in experience, leading to chaos as well as accidents - in some cases as severe as fractures.

"Even well-known and big amusement facilities pose a safety hazard," said Liu Bo from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Weekends are the peak time when children flood the areas but these venues did not limit the number of people, the report said.

"They do not have sufficient staff to handle the crowd. It gets worse on weekends and holidays when it generally gets crowded," said Tao Ailian, executive deputy secretary general of the commission.

Currently, there is no set standard in China on the ratio of children and staff members at playgrounds and the expertise of staff. The commission has called for a standard to monitor the market.

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