Playground Recall

Joann Robertson, CSP, CPSI, CPCU, ARM
Playground Safety Expert, Playground Medic (Hawthorne, NY)
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As a public sector risk manager, I always pay attention to product recalls. These bulletins or headlines usually involve various vehicles (their brakes or exhaust most often) or food products (usually it seems to be lettuce that is the guilty party). I could not think of a recent recall that had involved playground equipment. Since I work as a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI), I was especially interested in the news of this recent playground recall and decided to do some further research.

The recall that I am addressing is the BCI Burke Merge Playground Climber which had a recall issued by Burke on Dec.19, 2019.

Additional information and a photo of the product is available here:

The three purposes of my blog post are as follows:

  • Please check to ensure your playgrounds do not contain a BCI Burke Merge Playground Climber but if so, please take immediate corrective action

“Consumers should immediately stop using the Merge Climbers and block them off from children’s use.”

  • To help explain the dangers involved with playground entrapment hazards

The recall of Burke’s Merge Playground Climber is due to entrapment hazard, and I wanted to educate readers that an entrapment hazard may result in a serious injury or fatality to playground users.

More information on playground hazards, including entrapment, is explained (page 15) in the Public Playground Safety Handbook. This document can be found at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC Document #325) website at:

This handbook provides a valuable resource to safety professionals and those who manage or work with playgrounds. Consider bookmarking this website or printing out the document to keep at your fingertips for future reference. If you have playgrounds at various locations you can print copies of the document to distribute. Public entities can order multiple copies for free.

Per CPSC, playground entrapment is defined as:

“Any condition that impedes withdrawal of a body or body part that has penetrated an opening.”

And the following additional information is found on page 15:

“Head entrapment is a serious concern on playgrounds, since it could lead to strangulation and death. A child’s head may become entrapped if the child enters an opening either feet first or head first.”

To say this simply, a serious danger exists because children can be hung up by their heads and/or necks and be unable to free themselves.

  • To remind us how to research recalled products

One can research recalls on

A quick search indicated that there were few recalls related to playgrounds.  This is fortunate news for us in the field of public sector safety. Other recalls related to recreation, such as games, swimming pools or hot tubs, can also be found here.

Overall, the website provided a centralized resource for recalls. The site was extremely user friendly, containing many helpful details and simplified the process of sharing the information with your followers on social media.

*The views and opinions expressed in the Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA) blogs are those of each respective author. The views and opinions do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRIMA.*

By: Joann Robertson, CSP, CPSI, CPCU, ARM
Playground Safety Expert, Playground Medic (Hawthorne, NY)

Joann is a certified playground safety inspector who has worked in the field of public sector risk management for over 30 years. Her current responsibilities are safety inspections and networking. Joann's current job is organizing playground inspections and repairs. She is a member of Long Island ASSP and has her BS in environmental science and outdoor recreation.

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