Previous   Next

Should the city shut off fountains during park events to prevent children from playing in them?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on July 7, 2006

Browse the archives

Photo of John Carland

“Definitely not. I think it’s a lot of fun to play in a fountain. Parental responsibility should come into play to manage any hazards.”

Photo of Maya Tillman

“I don’t think they should. Obviously someone responsible should be watching the children, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Photo of Phil Deamer

“No. I think they should take extra precautions, like guard rails. I think the fountains would add to the ambiance during the events. They should showcase them.”

Photo of Sara Riehn

“I guess the city has to think about the liability involved, but I think Lawrence is a family-oriented community that wants children to be able to play in park fountains.”

Related story


Bill Chapman 11 years ago

I belive the fountains should be turned on. ---------------------------------------------- I also belive that parents should be aware of what their children are doing (in order to prevent accidents).

I also belive that the city has a responsiblity to protect itself from unresponsible people(parents) (who will most likely sue the city if their child is hurt playing on city property) by shutting down the fountain so children will not play in it.

HHMMMMMMM . . . I wonder which is the most probable - - Responsible parents OR - Turn off the fountain

HHMMMMMMMMMM Wow !! What a tough choice!

sgtwolverine 11 years ago

I think they should also provide axes and chainsaws for the kids to juggle.

Most fountains are not intended as play structures, and it sounds like this one is the same. There is little justification to complain about the inability to play on something not built for playing.

H_Lecter 11 years ago

There were many good ideas proposed on yesterday's fountain thread. It was all in the name of keeping the kids safe, which is the most important goal. The good ideas proposed were: Barbed/razor wire around the bottom. Add electrical current. Broken glass and razor blades to give a beautiful shiney effect. An alligator chained to the fountain. Pack the bottom and bowl in dry ice for another beautiful effect.

All of these ideas are wonderful suggestions, submitted by people that care. The kiddies would stay safe and the fountain could stay on.

jonas 11 years ago

Do the sorority girls in bikinis still get to splash around in the Chi Alpha fountain? Because, to be honest, that's as far as my interest or caring goes on this particular issue.

justsomewench 11 years ago

I imagine if you post an officer with pad of child endangerment tickets ready to go and a couple of SRS workers nearby, the children would learn the proper use of a public fountain in no time.

wouldn't hurt to pass out microscopic images of the regurgitated water to the parents, either. it's probably sporting more e coli than the aquatic centers.

sgtwolverine 11 years ago

Perhaps smoking should be permitted in the fountain, unless the fountain decides to ban it.

trinity 11 years ago

justsomewench, great post! :)

yup, parental responsibility is what this should boil down to; sure, go listen to the music, whatevs-but by golly keep an eye on the wee ones!!!

how's come people seem to not be willing to supervise/teach/discipline their young'uns any more? instead, legislate, make rules, BAN...sigh.

YourItalianPrincess 11 years ago

I agree, either watch your little ones or don't let them play in the fountian. Its one thing to play in the water, but very dangerous to be climbing on it and slipping. As all of us know.....water and concrete don't mix and someone could get very hurt.

Parents watch your little ones or we may just see yet another ban here in Lawrence.

ljlook 11 years ago

I guess LJWorld didn't get enough of this yesterday. Neither did any of you. Get over it, get a life.

craigers 11 years ago

Watch your kids. Kids should be watched but I see why the city wants to turn it off. The bottom feeder attorney's would foam at the mouth for the opportunity to file a class action lawsuit with a few of the kids that fall and get "hurt". This is one of the smart moves the city has done in order to protect the pocket book instead of spending it on more studies. Hey wait, why don't they study the water to see if it is safe for the children to play in.

Bill Chapman 11 years ago

I would have thought that most readers would have caught the whole cynical part of my post (mostly all of it). For those of you who happen to take everything literally - The World Would Be A Better Place If People Would Accept Responsibility For Their Actions / Inactions.

  • For example: If parents would BE PARENTS everyone could enjoy the fountain. Instead, now the fountain will end up being turned off for EVERY event held in the park, so "parents" can continue to be irresponsible and Impose On The Rest Of The World.

  • As a side note: There are many establishments in large cities that are now sporting signs in their windows that read: "Children unaccompanied by a responsible adult will be given a double expresso and a free puppy upon leaving this store."

Maybe the world needs more direct support for those unwilling too accept responsibilty for their actions / inactions.

betti81 11 years ago

Dracul--the restaurant i worked at in l-town has had that sign up for years. it actually drove a couple who came, sat and drank for hours and expected the servers to watch their annoying *ss kid away! that was an exciting day!

as for the fountains--GROSS!

reginafliangie 11 years ago

Now we don't want to "smother" their creativity! lol

My generation was spanked when bad and grounded when rules were broken and told "no" when trying to do something wrong. We are all fine. It's ok to teach and disipline your kids.

Kathleen Christian 11 years ago

Isn't it obvious this fountain is not intended to play in by the way it was built? DUH!! Get with the program parents there are some things that are not suitable for child's play and that fountain is ONE of them. So many times I have seen parents just stand and watch their child(ren) either climb a tree, mailboxes, walls without saying a words to them as if they are afraid to correct them in public or afraid damaging the child's mind - who knows. But when my grandson even thinks about climbing on something he shouldn't be climbing on I nip it in the bud right away and his mind isn't damaged by the correction. He just moves onto something safer and more constructive to do and has just as much fun. Parents have become so lazy anymore.

Liberty 11 years ago

The city commission should take advantage of this opportunity by leaving the fountains turned on, and to use their new dictatorial powers again to ban children from being within 50 feet of a fountain. This is for the safety of the children. A fine should be levied for all children offenders of $100 dollars per offense (to assist in the judges retirement fund). (This would help fund the cost of the police force also, while enforcing the new law; all for the safety of the children, to keep them safe from harming themselves).

Or parents could just make their children obey, by making the children stay out of the fountains and behave themselves. Or parents can ignore parental responsiblity and just have big government do it for them.

Lydia Diebolt 11 years ago

Smoking, cell phones, fountains... I see a trend here and it's very Stepford.

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

I've got one of those socially unacceptable hubbys that will actually correct YOUR child in public. He gives not a darn if you are standing w/in inches of him. If your child is doing something they clearly shouldn't be doing (i.e. climbing a tree that can barely support the weight of a squirrel, sticking out a tongue in disrespect to said parent, running barefoot over broken glass, etc.) and you are just really too woosie to correct little Johnny/Janie...he will do it for you. I propose we stand him next to the fountain and he can have a blast jerking the soaking wet wee beasties out of the water.

Seriously, I'd like to know how many people actually let their children play in fountains? If so, did it not occur to you that if it were a swimming pool, the city would have a posted lifeguard and charge admission? Lemme guess, you also let your children climb on large pieces of art and play on busy highways?

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

RI, Good grief! You pull that brainiac stuff before noon again and I'll splat you upside your head! IT'S TOO EARLY FOR PHYSICS! ;o)

sgtwolverine 11 years ago

Whoa. I think Sue just threatened your head with sudden deceleration trauma, RI.

beatrice 11 years ago

One solution -- put some non-toxic chemical in the water that makes it taste really, really awful. First kid will get it on his lips and seconds later -- WAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaa -- the little bugger will quickly be out of the water. In no time the word will get around to parents that their wonder-spawn will become boisterously unhappy if he or she plays in the fountain -- and we all know that too many parents who can't say no don't want their wonder-spawn to be unhappy, ever.

Plus a sign saying stay out and that explains the city will not be held responsible for injury -- sort of like the signs at professional baseball parks about flying objects.

Ban lawyers.

killjoy 11 years ago

Let's pave it over and let the kids bring their trikes & bikes and use this as a roundabout training course.

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

Remember when you'd see how close you could come to hitting the other person with the lawn dart? Kind of like playing chicken. Our's were taken away when we lodged one into the roof of the garage. Sad day. I was just describing lawn darts to my nephews this weekend. Seemed like such a July 4th thing to do.

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

Bea, how about dye that turns the kid some bright neon color? That way, everyone can look at the kid and know his/her parents are idiots. I'd feel sorry for the sitter or grandparent that would no doubt take the blame, though.

mom_of_three 11 years ago

Water in the summer (or anytime) attracts kids. Since the city is worried about accidents, and the safety of the fountains and kids, why not move the fountain somewhere else in the park, and install something like crown center where kids can play, have fun, and still hear the music. That's what the kids think it is anyway.

No, parents shouldn't let the kids climb on the fountain, but even mine used to splash in the water below while in the park.

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

RI, nope, no fun in letting the hubby fight my battles. Maybe we should rent those big blow up sumo wrestler outfits and have it out...once and for all!

beatrice 11 years ago

mo3: any idea how much it would cost to tear up and move a fountain, install new plumbing for the new location, and install what ever it is they have at crown center? It likely would be 10s of thousands of dollars or higher, so perhaps we should just make parents be responsible for their kids instead.

sue: Neon dye -- fun idea, but there will be a down side: all the anarchists will be down there to "wash" their hair and give it that extra splash of color to look even sillier next time they throw a temper tantrum / sit-in at the Army Recruitment offices.

sgtwolverine 11 years ago

I say they should pad the sidewalks. Do you know how many skinned knees there are each year due to that hard surface?

killjoy 11 years ago

A flaming gasoline-filled fountain would be pretty at night.

I'm thinking a fun place to cook smores or light the flaming lawn darts.

acg 11 years ago

I thought we agreed on the Coalition to start the Smack the Parents Initiative. I wonder if I could get the city to give me "study" money to look into the feasibilty of allowing those of us who have two brain cells to rub together the authority to knock the holy crap out of some lazy parent who's kid is doing something annoying in public? Can't you see it:


Lazy Parent: "What was that for?"

Coalition Member: "You're kid's in the fountain, moron. Get off your ass and go over there and get it before he falls to the cement and splatters his head."

LP: "What gives you the right to tell me how to raise my kid?"

CM: "I'm a card carrying member of the Coalition to Smack Stupid Parents and you (in Cartman voice) will RESPECT MY AUTHORITAAAAYYYY"

I had two appletini's with lunch today. Woohoo!

Deb Engstrom 11 years ago

My kids and now my grandkids have enjoyed playing in the fountain during band concerts. If the city is worried about a law suit, they can post appropriate signs -- like "slippery when wet", "climb at your own risk", etc. and let the kids continue to play. If they climb to the top and fall, the parents have no one to blame (or sue) but themselves. In the past big kids have played pretty rough on it, but now the little kids have a great time. It's a shame to ruin that.

acg 11 years ago

Then the parents would be plaing in it hitme.

sgtwolverine 11 years ago

Just don't get the wrong medication in the fountain. Wow, there's a wide variety of fun times the population would have in the park.

sgtwolverine 11 years ago

New OTS question: if you could choose a medication to place in the fountain water, what would it be? (Disqualified: Viagra, because it's too easy. Be creative!)

acg 11 years ago

Does it have to be a legal medication? If not, I choose LSD.

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

acg, I have no idea what an "appletini" is but I think I need one. You, on the other hand (much like my sis) need a Cartman intervention. (:) Too much Southpark will kill you. We'd better inform the city Kommish.

sgtwolverine 11 years ago

Well, presumably, this would be the city authorities placing the medication in the water. So the legality of the chosen substance is based entirely on your view of those authorities.

Laura 11 years ago

I'm no slouch in the discipline department with respect to my children, but some of you are over the top in your indictments of parents and children and this fountain business. Sue, if your husband had the audacity to correct my daughters in my presence when I had--for whatever reason I deemed appropriate--not done so myself, I would more than likely use your husband as an object lesson to the girls to show another example of how people should not behave in public. I think my daughters have wonderful manners and they seldom misbehave in public, but let's face it, kids have a tendency to whine when tired or be attracted to certain things like fountains and the parent cannot, every single time, catch the behavior and take care of it in a manner considered suitable by everyone. Lighten up.

acg 11 years ago

Sue, appletini, apple martini, shot of vodka, shot of apple shnapps and apple juice to fill. Mmmmm.

craigers 11 years ago

Acg, how can I become a member?

nonsmoker 11 years ago

I come from a town that has several fountains, and I have never seen a child in any of them. But, they have blue dye in them to "make them look pretty." I guess it would have a similar effect on children. I can see it now, "Hey you with the blue child, Please accept this ticket for misuse of public property as a token of my appreciation."

thisiknow 11 years ago

Why not just leave it the way it is? Some people see no harm in letting their kids play in the fountain. Some parents do not allow it----big deal that is life---kids who mind their parents and were told not to play in it will stay out of it. Other kids that play in it are obviously left to their own defences.Your child will see other kids doing the wrong thing alot but it is up to you as a parent to tell your kids the reason you do not want them doing what the others are. Goes back to that adage you heard as a child--"If your friend jumps off the bridge will you?" Seems like there is a rule for everything we say or do. What ever happened to "COMMON SENSE" If the city is worried they should post a little sign. Leave it be.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

How about Valium? Put the little buggers into dreamland for awhile, so they won't annoy anyone.

I saw a couple of kids of about 10 or so running circles in Wal-Mart the other day, while mom was looking at clothes and didn't even notice what they were doing.

Which do you think would be more inappropriate behavior in public, Laura? Someone like Sue's husband telling the little brats to behave themselves and go back to their mom where they belong, or someone more sinister grabbing them and having them outside the building for God knows what purpose before mom even noticed they were gone?

I guess people have forgotten Adam Walsh. Maybe they'd watch their kids better if they did.

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

Laura, Chill out. Re-read my post. Did I mention the occasional whining and minor infractions that all children do? Nope? Didn't think so. And yes, if your child stuck their tongue out at you (or him) and you didn't correct the disrespectful little heathen...he would. Sounds like you and your wonderfully manered girls have nothing to fear. BTW, what is an 'object' lesson?

acg, I'll take that appletini now! And sign me up for the CSSP.

RI, a "Cartman Intervention" is when we band together as a group of caring friends and pull the Southpark watcher away from their non-stop 48 hour Cartman watching marathon. It's in their best interest. Then we can go somewhere safe and eat cheesy poofs.

beatrice 11 years ago

deb: "My kids and now my grandkids have enjoyed playing in the fountain during band concerts." This would be acceptable -- if your kids and grandkids are named Rover and Lassie! Keep your kids out of the fountain, already -- it might be a small body of water, but it isn't a wading pool! Would you think it appropriate if a homeless guy sat in the fountain with a bar of soap in order to bath? This seems as appropriate for a public water fountain as does allowing kids to play in it.

Stories like this remind me of the bumper stick that reads "Mean people suck!" Usually, this just meant, "People who try to tell me I can't do whatever I want whenever I want suck!"

Drug for the fountain: very strong laxative. That would keep the parents busy when it comes to the tots, and teach those kids old enough to be taught better to stay out of fountains! Plus, after a few wayward kids, it might give the water a lovely earthen brown color.

reginafliangie 11 years ago

But crazyks, don't you know we live in Mayberry? "Nothing bad ever happens". Yes, that was sarcasm. Crazyks is right. And all of those parents who say, "their my kids and I have the right to let them do what I feel is safe", that is true until they do things that most would deem unsafe in a public place. Let them play with a nail gun in your own garage, but please have them behave around other children and property. With kids it's monkey see, monkey do. And if others are allowed then the other kids think it's ok too. Thats what parents are for, to tell them that it isn't ok. It's not the cities place to babysit your kids but since you forced the issue they have no other choice but to turn the fountain off.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

Sue, I for one appreciate what your husband does. If the parents aren't going to teach their kids some manners and appropriate behavior, someone should.

I have done this myself. Though not as often as is probably necessary. I wish more people would. And gee, parents, if your kid's behavior is bad enough to make total strangers talk to them about it, then maybe you should be re-thinking your own parenting skills, instead of criticizing someone else for stepping in.

nonsmoker 11 years ago

Many of those who will use you as an example of what not to do in public for having the "audacity" to assist them in corraling in their misfits, are the ones who think Walmart is better than a sitter. "Go play in the toy dept., I'll come get you when I'm done shopping." They think it's great that they can usually leave without having to pay for the toys their kids broke. In other words, the parents who get most offended are usually the ones who's children need it the most. As far as playing the in fountain is concerned, wouldn't it be about the same as leaving the restroom without washing your hands? How well is the fountain treated, is it's treatment regulated like that of a public pool?

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

And I meant to say that more parents would watch their kids more closely if they remembered Adam Walsh.

So many parents anymore just let their kids run wild, and while it's daylight, they don't even know where they are, what they're doing, or who they may be with.

But the parents will wait until it gets dark, and then if the kid doesn't show up, then suddenly they're worried.

By then, if something HAS happened to them, it's probably too late.

reginafliangie 11 years ago

Walmart or any other place is NOT my babysitter. My kids stay with me. Their reward for letting mom get her shopping done is to go to the toy department and look around for a bit. It is too easy these days for any schmoo to grab a kid and leave. I want to see my children grow up not on the front of a missing poster.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

My daughter is grown now, but when she was small, she stayed WITH ME whenever we went to a store. There's no excuse for a parent not to do this. Yeah, kids get bored when you make them do this. They get over it.

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

Nor my manservant! (Actually, where do I get one of those?) If I'm successful in finding one, and he is not my neighbor, can I covet his ass?

nonsmoker 11 years ago

I checked with the maintenance person about the fountain outside the building here, once a month he drops a tablet in that turns the water blue, and kills algae, and mosquito larve. It's starting to sound like playing in the fountain is like leaving the restroom after washing your body in the toilet! (Doesn't it have one of those blue tablets also?) However, I love the look of the fountains, and the evaporating water cools the immediate vacinity enormously. I think that would be very needed during park events.

reginafliangie 11 years ago

Unfort nonsmoker because of negligent parents we won't get to enjoy the fountain during concerts since the parents can't keep an eye on their little ones.

Isn't nice to be punished for others crap?

tcp 11 years ago

Some parents are irresponsible AND the city must cover its *ss. I think it would be worth the expense of redesigning the fountain to minimize the risk of injury. What child can resist? I hate to use the B word, but how about something like the children's fountain on Pearl St in Boulder?

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

tcp, that's just it. Nothing is without risk. I've fallen over a curb. I don't see the city removing all curbs to minimize risk. I think a mandatory class for all parents of fountain brats would cost less than a new fountain. I'll even teach it. I won't charge more than the cost of a new fountain. For that matter, I won't charge more per hour than a bulldozer operator would charge to tear out the existing fountain. It might even be fun. (I can't believe you said the B word!) Shame!

Aiko 11 years ago

It's a fountain! Not a pool and/or playground.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.