In 2000, 55 percent of American playgrounds had seesaws, but only 7 percent did by 2004.
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation claims it has not installed a new one, except by special request, in over thirty years. There are now only a few seesaws left in the city.
(TC: As a child, I never had an interest in those infernal things, which seemed to me dangerous and not much fun.)
Most of the “monkey bars” in NYC had been installed by master builder Robert Moses, between 1934 and 1960.
Between 2001 and 2008, about two hundred thousand American children sustained playground injuries, 36 percent of them being broken bones.
That said, Helle Nebelong, a Danish landscape architect, argues that too much uniformity in the environment of children creates other risks, because they come to expect the whole world will be smooth and predictable. Nature, in particular, is not.
In 1949, “junk” playgrounds were a trend. They often had paint, nails, and many kinds of secondhand building materials.
The first edition of the Handbook for Public Playground Safety appeared in 1981.
That is all from the new and interesting The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids, by Alexandra Lange.