Aggressive public safety programs and the threat of lawsuits have made playground swings, particularly the tall 16-footers, a vanishing delight. Tall swings and slides along with sliding poles are rapidly being replaced by safer but less thrilling playground devices. U.S. playground safety standards, widely adopted in the 1990s, called for new safety surfaces to cushion falls with the result that the swings became very costly. A swing set once costing $800 now costs $4,000. Thus, government rules and the threat of lawsuits have made playgrounds safer while reshaping childhood fun and virtually eliminating the challenge of overcoming the terror of big swings and slides. Are we better off?
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