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Willow Wigwam Safety

(9 Posts)
steadynerve Sun 10-Jul-11 13:01:03

I was a bit worried about the use of these wicker wigmans in the childrens primarty school playing field. Interested in any mums views.

What concerns me is that very quickly (couple of monbths) the willow has started to break in places and this leads to sharp pointy bits sticking out. As this is at childrens eye level it concerns me in the worst case a child playing around this or pushed onto this could lose a eye in the worst case. (The school for instanmce does put cups on top of its bamboo growing canes to prevent such injuries).

Obviously this hasn't happened yet at no doubt the press would report it. These wigwams are marketed at preschools, homes and schools so you would have though they would be some safety checks on them? And also everyone knows that willow frays quite quickly and this problem would arise.

They do look very pretty and the children enjoy playing with them. I personally woulnd not have them in my garden Or if I did would look for some way to make the sharp sticky out bits safe. Perhaps with some clay etc. (any other ideas welcome?)

Has anyone any thoughts on this. Play equipment is usually plastic and although it doesn't look natural is is smooth and safe and incredible hard wearing. Am i missing out on a trend here where parents are looking for a more natural look and and prepared to take a greater risk with safety for it.

Is the risk too small to worry about. Or is this just a new envirnmentally friendly product that people have not woken up to the dangers of.

Any thoughts/advice very welcome.

mrz Sun 10-Jul-11 13:07:47

If it's brittle and breaking it is dead and needs removing. Willow is incredibly bendy which is why it is used for this type of structure. Perhaps the children have been snapping it deliberately hmm and it is dying above the break.

snicker Sun 10-Jul-11 13:11:51

It sounds like its maybe not being looked after properly. Willow isn't brittle. Our school has had one for 2-3 years and it doesn't have any sharp bits. I play go in it at least once a day to drag my toddler out.

UniS Sun 10-Jul-11 19:42:55

The first year of a willow structure live it may well have "dead" willow woven into it to give it some more solidity. once teh structure is well-established this dead material can be removed and replaced with living material from the structure its self. BUT willow will die if it is bent back on itself , it will only live to the highest point then the down wards pointing part will die.

LOTS of schools don;t have any one maintaining their willow and LOTS of helpful people think they will tidy the willow up by bending bits over and weaving them in.... very few helpfull people ever remove dead material, they just hide it. Like any garden shrub a willow needs a prune once a year by someone who knows what they are doing.

jade80 Sun 10-Jul-11 19:47:10

Hmmm... but equally they could poke an eye out with a pencil. I don't think kids should be living in padded cells and over sanitised outdoor environments with nothing but rounded edges. It isn't good for them.

The cups on the bamboo growing canes- are you sure that's what they're for?!

Willow doesn't 'fray' anyway, and as said above it is used because it is so bendy.

Think you're being rather precious.

steadynerve Sun 10-Jul-11 21:03:01

Here's a link to what they look like - the third one down for £105. Its not a living willow thing so all the willow is dead dried out and hard and not really bendy.

steadynerve Sun 10-Jul-11 21:03:24


mrz Sun 10-Jul-11 21:07:51

There still shouldn't be any sharp brittle parts poking out

mitz Sun 10-Jul-11 21:10:02

There are living willow and dead willow structures. Kind of self explanatory - sounds like you have a cut or dead willow structure? It will deteriorate quite quickly outside.

There is a whole new 'ideology' of play at the moment - using irregular structures, more basic structures to allow more imaginative play and adding some risk (shock!), to help with developing a sensible strategy to risk taking.

There are books and papers and seminars about this would you believe.

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