The Ice Lawsuit Cometh (Potentially)

Hi Readers: It’s weird, isn’t it, how something as remote as litigation ends up changing REAL, daily life? But it does. This note is just a great example of what happens when we see everything in terms of a court case down the road. — Lenore
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Dear Free-Range Kids: I live in the suburbs of DC — Frederick, MD to be exact, a lovely community that is rich in history. We have a fantastic “downtown” area that hosts lots of community and cultural arts events on a regular basis. Anyhooo, last Friday was their yearly “Fire & Ice” display. The streets are lined with many ice sculptures on display, the quaint stores are open late, free trolley rides etc. etc.

 

My kids are 8 & 10 years old. As we were browsing the streets this evening, we came upon a fenced in outdoor area that advertised itself as the “ice playground.” Cool. As the kids and I curiously went to step into the “playground,” we were abruptly halted by a lady with a clipboard. Since this fenced-in area was actually the patio dining area of a restaurant (closed during winter months, obviously), I thought this lady was taking names for the wait list to get seated inside. Wrong. She was having anyone who entered the area (even adults sans children), sign a full page release. I printed my name and then signed at the bottom. I then was asked to print the names of my children under my signature. The lady was most pleasant and I obliged accordingly, thinking to myself how ridiculous this is.

To make this even more absurd, the “ice playground” consisted of 3 things. Hold on tight here, they are a bit risky and dangerous:

1. A large ice sculpture (bear shaped) that was made into a chair. Anyone could line up to sit in the chair and have their picture taken, for free.

2. Another large ice sculpture, clown-shaped, with various holes in the ice. A large plastic bin sat in front of the clown with bean bags in it. Anyone could play to their heart’s content, trying to get a bean bag to go through one of the holes.

3. Lastly, another ice sculpture of a checkers-type game with plastic checker pieces on it. It was actually more of a mini shuffleboard, where one could slide the plastic checker pieces on the ice table.

That was it. The Ice Playground. No ice sliding, no balance beam, no diving board, high wire or frozen ball pit that I was assuming would have been at this high-risk “playground,” with mandatory release required.

I am so sorry that I did not get a copy of the form to email you. It was one for the books. Here is a link to the events for the evening though. Enjoy your winter! — A friend in Maryland

The fear of lawsuits is freezing the life out of us. Brrr. — L

 

 

This Story Will Make You Blubber (No, I Could NOT Resist)

Dear Readers: Here’s a nice story — and an ice story, too: Real boys build real igloo. I know — it’s too bad that this kind of this is so rare it merited a write-up. But that snow reason not to celebrate (with bad puns)! — Lenore