OP the fact you can name the 2 children who were kidnapped shows how low the risk actually is. Not sure of the stats of kids kidnapped from playgrounds in broad daylight but I'd say they're fairly low.
I could understand worrying about a child being hurt but I think to suggest mothers having a chat at a playground are taking kidnapping risks is a bit much.
I hovered a bit more with my first. Over cautious kid who wanted parental supervision 'right there.' My third learnt how to climb well before walking, so I happily watched from a distance. My cautious kid is the only one who has had a serious fall, but my third kid had lots of other panicked parents hovering as they obviously felt like they needed to 'help'...they didn't though.
This was fireman poles, chain bridges ( one chain on bottom and chain hand rails) and chain climbing etc
On the smaller equipment ( designed for smaller kids) we let her be.
I wish I could just sit down at the park and not pay attention .... But dd won't do a damn thing unless I'm with her watching.
All I get is mum mum mum mum watch me mum mum mum come to the slide mum mum mum I'm doing this mum mum mum come with me
I'm somewhere in the middle. DD was always a hesitant climber and wouldn't go near a ladder unless I was right behind her. She's 7 and still won't do those 'spiderweb' pyramid type climbing things and last year got 'stuck' high up at a new playground and needed me to.come get her. It's funny, because she's quite fearless with so many other things.
DS is a natural climber and very confident. Our local playground has one set that is only about 1.2m as the highest possible fall. The other is at least 1.8m. I stand back on the low one but am right there on the high one. DS has a habit of breaking falls with his head, so I'm not going to risk a 6 foot drop.
I'm definitely cautious when it comes to a child's physical safety. I figure that's a pretty good quality in someone who is responsible for a classfull of other people's children all day.
I think there are too many variables to have a simple answer to this question.. Age of child, personality, parenting style, part experiences, height of playground etc. I have a dd the same age as the op and I stay pretty close if she can fall from a height as tall as me or taller. I've also worked with children with acquired brain injuries from falls so that probably influences my decision. I don't consider myself a helicopter parent but have absolutely no problem with anyone who chooses to parent that way.
Oh and I'm pretty sure like everyone here, I love my child.
I hover mostly but don't consider myself a helicopter parent. Atm going to the playground is an opportunity to spend quality time with ds so naturally I want to be where the action is. We have a similar playground to you by the sounds of it where ds can climb up to 1.5 metres with nothing stopping him falling off the sides (think chains and metal ladder for older kids to climb down - not suitable for a 19 month old)! Ds is not that physically agile yet.
Ds also doesn't yet understand older kids on the flying fox or swings flying into you will hurt a lot!
If I'm just with the kids, I stand close enough to see but not right next to them. To an observer they probably don't look like there's a parent nearby, but I'm there. Often on my phone, but I know where they are. If they're on a particularly high piece of equipment (ie. above my head) I get closer but otherwise I'm pretty relaxed.
If I'm there with other adults, I talk and keep an eye on them from a distance. I haven't really paid that much attention to what other parents are doing. And if anyone is judging me then meh, I don't care.
In a full time SAHM so the park usually bores me to tears because we go so often. Give me a play centre any day where I can sit with a coffee, not watch my kids at all and read a book instead ;-)
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