Hornchurch playground safety calls after accident

A FOUR-year-old boy received a serious head injury in a playground months after a worried parent warned health and safety officials one of its swings was extremely dangerous.

The youngster had to be taken to A&E after being battered to the ground and left bleeding profusely from his head when he was struck by a ‘basket swing’ in Hornchurch Country Park.

Elizabeth Lawrence, of Coltishall Road, Hornchurch, waited with the boy and his mum for medics but says the accident could have been avoided if her calls for improved safety were heeded.

She says she contacted health and safety manager Don Stuart last summer when her own boy, Elis, 10, was concussed following an accident involving the same two-man piece of playground equipment.

But the mum-of-two says her calls for a metal barrier and distance markings were rejected when she was told it would not fit in with the park ‘surroundings’.

She said: “Last year he was just standing watching it and he was hit by a flying seat and was knocked over and concussed. He went to get back up again and he was told not to stand up again because he might get hit again. That’s when I spoke to the health and safety manager and he said he wasn’t prepared to put in a barrier because it wasn’t in keeping with the ‘natural surroundings’ of the park. How ridiculous. He didn’t contact me after that.”

The London Ambulance Service (LAS) confirmed that medics treated a four-year-old boy for head injuries before taking him to Queen’s Hospital.

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Mrs Lawrence added: “This was another accident waiting to happen, as I witnessed a four-year-old boy get his head seriously bashed.

“This cannot happen again. The seats are similar to a heavy discus and even when a child is not on one of them it still poses a great danger.”

Cllr Andrew Curtin, cabinet member for towns and communities with special responsibility for culture, said: “We are sorry to hear about this accident. We check our play equipment daily to ensure it is safe to use but we would always advise parents to supervise children when using play equipment to prevent accidents happening.”