The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is taking corrective action after a toddler got her head caught in the fence surrounding the Schiller Park playground.

On June 24 the young girl, who was never publicly identified, was unable for a short period of time to dislodge her head that had become stuck between two metal bars in the decorative wrought-iron fence that surrounds most of the playground on the east side of the park, said Katharine Moore, chairwoman of Friends of Schiller Park.

Eventually, she was extricated from the fence, Moore said.

Columbus Division of Fire crews were called for assistance but the emergency medical services run was called off after it appeared the girl was unharmed, Hoyt said.

A spokesman for the fire department said there was no record of a visit to the park June 24.

A blue plastic net fence has been attached to the inside of the wrought-iron fencing until recreation and parks officials determine a permanent fix, said Brian Hoyt, spokesman for the department.

Recreation and parks officials were notified about the incident June 26 through an email sent to its website after a woman who witnessed the incident helped dislodge the girl, Hoyt said.

"We immediately took action," he said.

The fence has two openings, one on the west side of the playground and another one on the south.

The purpose of the fence is to keep children from chasing objects onto Jaeger Street, Hoyt said.

Whatever fence style is chosen, it has to meet certain safety guidelines and also be approved by the German Village Commission, the local architectural review board, Hoyt said.

He said he had no idea how long that would take.

Moore said Friends of Schiller stand by to "help ensure we maintain something with historic character."

Hoyt said he is unaware of any child getting her head stuck in the bars in Schiller or any other city park.

"That doesn't mean it never happened," he said.

Elspeth Willoughby, one of a small group of local mothers who helped establish the playground in the early 1980s, said she was impressed by the rapid response by recreation and parks.

"I have to say the parks people handled that very fast and efficiently," Willoughby said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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