Here’s some frightening news: Four razor blades have been discovered in the slides at two different Hunstville, Texas parks. Luckily, the blades were discovered before any children were harmed, but it certainly has frightened many parents.
City officials say a heating device was used to melt the plastic of the slides, and that razor blades were then embedded inside. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. A razor blade was also found embedded in the handle of a Huntsville Target shopping cart, and damage at another Huntsville park led police to believe that the criminal(s) may have tried and failed to insert another blade in a slide at this location.
Was This An Isolated Incident?
Unfortunately, slide tampering has happened in the past in other cities as well. Back in 2009, a 6-year-old boy ended up getting nearly 30 stitches after he was lacerated by a hidden razor blade on a Pleasant Valley, New York playground slide. And, in East Moline, Illinois, a dozen razor blades were glued to the monkey bar handles, causing injury to a 2-year-old boy.
This is undoubtedly horrifying. So what should concerned parents do? Is it even safe to let your kids use playground equipment?
Luckily, incidents such as this are rare. But you can still take precautions.
What To Look Out For
While it may be tempting to avoid public playgrounds altogether, you and your kids should be just fine, provided you use caution and also keep your eyes peeled for possible criminal behavior.
For example, it’s possible that a lighter was used to melt the slides in Huntsville before the razor blades were inserted. Since it’s against the law to smoke in most public parks, if you see someone with a lighter who could possibly be tampering with the playground equipment, you should alert the authorities.
It’s also a good idea to rely on modern technology for crime prevention. For example, in order to help prevent future crimes, the city of Huntsville is installing video cameras at local parks. If you’re worried an incident like this happening in your neighborhood, you could make sure to frequent only those parks that are under video surveillance, or parks that have a strong community presence and lots of watchful eyes.
But, remember, these are very isolated crimes. The likelihood of this happening in your own town is small, but if you are concerned, simply be sure check out the slide and other equipment before your kids use them.
[h/t: WTHR 13]