Full Bucket Swing Extrication

Here’s a not so routine extrication to think about as you cruise by your local public park.  How are you going to get a child out of a full bucket swing who has become stuck.

The scenario is: a child’s legs are to big for the openings, but gravity squeezed them in for the swing ride.  Now, the child can’t get out.

These swings are recommended for an age range of 1-3, are constructed with a polymer mold, and have galvanized bucket hangers that are riveted to the mold.  We found that inside the mold is a thin metal, maybe aluminum that further strengthens the mold, and also makes it more difficult to cut.

The child's legs were stuck in the uncut part of this swing. By cutting the mold in 2 spots with a sawzal, the rigidity of the mold was weakened enough to wiggle (technical term) the child's legs out.

Several things to think about:

  • Eliminate gravity from the equation – cut the chains and lower the child to the ground.
  • Popping, drilling, or cutting the rivets wasn’t a great option due to the close proximity of the child’s body.
  • We tried cutting the mold with bolt cutters and wire cutters unsuccessfully, prior to using the sawzal.

Pass it on!

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  • Jamie Morelock

    One of the biggest points is to explain every action you are going to take, to the child to help them feel calm. Utilizing protection in the form of a section of c-collar, or we carry various sized (kitchen) spatulas in our “man-in-machine” kit to slide between the child’s body and the swing to prevent the saw from accidentially cutting them. The small pneumatic hacksaws work well also in this type of extrication.

    Jamie Morelock
    Toledo Fire Department

  • Jim Ogle

    Having had a similar incident we use a wire PVC cutter… Few dollars at home depot it looks like very heavy duty fishing wire with loops on the end it is made for plumbers to cut PVC lines in tight spots so it works for this perfectly. The only thing you need to have on had is a can to keep the patient cool from the heat created by the friction of the tool.

    • Thanks Jim. I haven’t used that tool before. Send a link if you find one and I will post it for all to look at.

  • Here’s a link to an example of the wire PVC cutter Jim talked about above. Sounds like you can find them at many hardware stores. Thanks Jim. http://www.generaltools.com/858–PVC-PIPE-CABLE-SAW_p_121.html

  • larry

    We had this same scenario within the last month . Honestly never gave this a thought prior to the dispatch . really found we had to think basic but yet outside the box . Our initial step was to provide a way to alleviate the pressure on the patients groin area . We used our backup jump bag for our patient (7 y.o. ) to stand on . We then made a small starter cut using trauma shears , fortunately our swing did not have steel reinforcement . We then used a single handle hacksaw , fortunate enough to have a small gap between pt. and blade . We cut deep enough but stopped short of pt. legs , from there we literally strong armed and tore the remaining seat area . These seats are no joke , after this incident I went to youtube and saw many incidents like this

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