As a designer I have to work around ergonomics and anthropometrics on a daily basis. We strive to understand the human form and design around the tolerances of the human body based on range of motion, physical aptitude, necessary job function, and safety all while creating an aesthetically pleasing final product. With that said, even Henry Dreyfuss couldn’t design around stupidity. As a case study, here is a report by Tonya Alanez from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on July 10, 2009:
“9-year-old girl rescued from baby swing
Firefighters help needed to pull girl out of jam in Plantation park
PLANTATION – It was Plantation firefighters to the rescue Friday evening when a 9-year-old girl got stuck in a baby swing at Volunteer Park, authorities said.
The child was removed from a swing at the West Sunrise Boulevard park within about two minutes of firefighters’ arrival, Battalion Chief Joel Gordon said.
“She was removed. No harm, no foul,” he said, explaining that firefighters simply pulled her out.
An amused Gordon said it was about the fourth similar incident at Plantation parks this week.
“It’s an epidemic,” he said with a chuckle. “You stuff a 9-year-old into a baby swing, and they just don’t fit.”
Earlier in the week, the extrication process was a little more complicated when a child had to be cut from a swing at Jim Ward Center, Gordon said.”
Really, an epidemic?! I can see two possible ways this could happen:
- Parents force this poor kid into a baby swing, because she “used to fit” as if the swing was an old t-shirt.
- The 9-year-old comes running up to the swing with all the excited zeal of Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, wedges herself into the swing, and after the shear enjoyment of performing the act she realizes that this does not end well.
So a lesson to parents everywhere. We as designers try to think of ways to make your life easier, more efficient, and safer – so do us a favor, and read the instructions.