Mum's horror after daughter, 4, almost severs finger on playground ride

·4-min read

A mum is warning others to be careful after her daughter almost severed her finger at a park playground, forcing her to be hospitalised.

Cassidy was visiting the new Cooranbong Reserve Playground at Lake Macquarie in NSW with her grandpa on Friday when the gruesome injury occurred, her mum Emma Maslen told Yahoo News Australia.

When she arrived, the four-year-old saw another parent pushing two young girls on a lime green carousel that spins in the ground and wanted to have a go.

“But when Cassidy sat down, she lost her balance and put her hand out behind her and when [the carousel] moved, her finger got caught in the gap,” Ms Maslen said.

Cassidy's bloody finger and the playground's carousel ride.
Cassidy's finger was severely injured on a playground's carousel ride on Friday. Source: Supplied

The mum said her father-in-law was able to wriggle his granddaughter’s right pinkie finger out and bandage it before rushing her back home.

“It pulled the nail almost completely off,” Ms Maslen said.

After calling her family doctor, Ms Maslen took Cassidy straight to Maitland Hospital where she was admitted overnight and underwent surgery to place the nail back into the nail bed.

“It could have ended a lot worst than it did,” she said.

Fearing the carousel could severely injure another child, the mum contacted the Lake Macquarie City Council to alert them to the issue — and it turns out she wasn’t the only concerned parent.

Two children injured in under an hour

Another woman who was at the park at the time told Yahoo News Australia she had seen a small boy also get his fingers stuck in the gap between the spinning disc and the ground on the carousel.

The extent of his injury is unknown.

The incidents prompted other parents to post a warning about the equipment on a community Facebook group.

“Do not use this playground. In under one hour two small children/toddlers have almost had their fingers severed off,” one woman wrote alongside an image of the carousel.

 the Cooranbong Reserve Playground.
Cassidy was playing with her grandpa at the Cooranbong Reserve Playground on Friday when the gruesome injury occurred. Source: Lake Macquarie City Council

However, her post was met with severe backlash, with numerous people stating that the carousel is designed to be wheelchair inclusive and for kids to stand on, not sit.

Others said the injuries were a “parental error” because the children were not being watched closely.

“Parents should be supervising and ensuring their child is using it the correct way,” one person said.

However, Ms Maslen has hit back, saying her father-in-law is always very attentive and that Cassidy’s injury was simply an accident.

“I’m not blaming the council or the property developers, it was an accident that may have been to be prevented but not due to negligence or anything anyone could have done,” she said, adding that she doesn’t want the ride to be restricted, just made safer.

Playground reopens after repairs

The Cooranbong Reserve Playground reopened on Wednesday after undergoing an upgrade and expansion completed by the Johnson Property Group.

A Lake Macquarie City Council spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the council was alerted to Cassidy’s injury on Friday and immediately closed off the carousel for a safety assessment.

“Council was made aware on Friday morning of an incident in the Cooranbong Park playground, in which a child’s finger was injured while using the newly installed accessible carousel,” they said.

The Cooranbong Reserve Playground.
The Lake Macquarie City Council was alerted to Cassidy’s injury on Friday and closed off the carousel for repairs. Source: Lake Macquarie City Council

“Measures were immediately taken to close the piece of equipment in question. This remained closed until repairs to eliminate the issue could be undertaken on Tuesday by the contractors who installed the playground. It reopened on Tuesday afternoon.”

The spokesperson said all playgrounds in Lake Macquarie are independently assessed by a safety auditor before opening.

“A safety auditor assessed the Cooranbong Park playground prior to its opening last week and detected no issues with any of the equipment,” they said.

“Investigations after the incident found that slight movement in the carousel structure after initial use caused a gap to form between the carousel and the edge of the emplacement in which it was installed.”

Yahoo News Australia has contacted the Johnson Property Group for comment.

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