This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," July 18, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Been to the playground lately? You may have noticed some serious changes. From merry-go-rounds to swings, it seems those old favorites are becoming extinct, with the classics being revamped or replaced for safety reasons.
Joining us now is Jerry Graziose, director of safety for the school board of Broward County, Florida.
Jerry, I'm sure I mangled you name. I apologize.
JERRY GRAZIOSE, DIRECTOR OF SAFETY, BROWARD COUNTY: That's OK.
GIBSON: So, what's the deal? You can't go on the teeter-totters or jungle gyms anymore?
GRAZIOSE: Well, there are many new pieces of equipment. Things have changed over the years.
Moving pieces have been termed to be the number one cause of injuries for children. And, actually, we did have swings for many years. We went to a tire swing, but our principals association asked to us remove it because playtime was after lunch, and many children got sick. So, we removed it for that particular reason, so it wouldn't hurt the educational process.
GIBSON: What is it, you know, the classics, like the merry-go- round, the teeter-totter, the swings, the jungle gym, I take it they are gone. What replaces them?
GRAZIOSE: Well, now they have what they call a composite unit. It's made up of various activities. In our elementary playground, the piece that we have has four different kinds of slide.
We have a double slide. We have a spiral slide. We have a single slide. We have a horizontal ladder. We have trapeze rings. We have a fireman's pole. We have arch climbers. So, on a composite unit, you could have seven to nine different activities. And, nowadays, manufacturers are coming up with activity boards, where students can actually do tic-tac-toe. They can play with numbers, and there are other activities they can do.
Plus, we have to keep the playground accessible for the Americans with Disabilities Act (search), so we had to come up with equipment and projects that a child in a wheelchair could participate on the same playground with the regular children.
GIBSON: Jerry, does this make a better playground?
GRAZIOSE: Well, when you are looking at a school, we're also looking at the curriculum. We have equipment on the playground — a balance beam, chin-up bars, parallel bars — to build upper body strength.
This is not just a park. We have activities for enjoyment, but we also have to look at curriculum and developing the child, their coordination, and their upper body strength, because in many locations, physical education has been dropping around the country.
GIBSON: All right.
GRAZIOSE: So, this also helps. This is a dual purpose. We have like three different sized chin-up bars, depending on the size of the child.
GIBSON: Jerry Graziose, thanks a lot. We've got to run.
GRAZIOSE: No problem.
GIBSON: Jerry is the director of safety for the school board, Broward County.
GIBSON: Kiss that old jungle gym goodbye.
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