Mom and doctors agree: Don’t go down slides with kids
With summer finally here, kids and parents will be rushing outside to enjoy the warm weather. One mom has an important reminder for us before we hit the playground, though: riding down slides with kids is super dangerous.
“When Meadow was 12 months old, I went down the slide with her on my lap, and her foot got caught between me and the slide,” Heather Clare wrote alongside a photo that captured the painful moment her daughter was injured. “This picture is the moment her leg was breaking. She’s still smiling… because it was happening at this exact moment,” she said. “When we went to the ER, the super empathetic doctor lectured me on how common this injury is. I had no idea,” Clare explained. “I thought everyone took their kids down the slide.”
Riding down a slide with your little one is so dangerous that the American Academy of Pediatrics has released statements warning parents not to do it. The AAP said that “an estimated 352,698 children less than 6 years of age were injured on slides in the United States from 2002 through 2015, and many of those injuries were leg fractures.”
Clare, whose daughter was in a cast for five weeks, tells Scary Mommy: “I think the most important thing is that there isn’t a truly safe way for more than one person to go down a slide.”
“Many parents and caregivers go down a slide with a young child on their lap without giving it a second thought,” explains Charles Jennissen, MD, Clinical Professor and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Staff Physician, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. “And in most cases I have seen, the parents had no idea that doing so could possibly give their child such a significant injury.”
Jennissen researched slide accidents and found that the most common injury that kids receive are fractured legs and that most of those are caused when a kid is sitting on a parent’s lap while riding down the slide.
“People say they hold their child’s limbs in or tuck their legs in between theirs. The child’s legs can get stuck no matter what. Also, the weight of another person behind the child, even an older sibling who doesn’t weigh much, pushes the smaller child down the slide and doesn’t allow them to stop if they get stuck,” Clare says. “Really, the safest way is for a child to go down alone. If they are too young to go down alone, they shouldn’t go down yet. I didn’t know this but after it happened to my daughter, I did a lot of research on it.”
Meadow has since made a full recovery. “She is now a happy and healthy almost 4-year-old that loves playgrounds and slides,” Clare says. In addition to speaking out about the dangers of riding down slides with kids, Clare is working on making sure playground safety signs mention this all too common occurrence.
“I strongly feel every playground should have a warning sign, but since I’ve never seen one (and we go to a lot of playgrounds), I share this picture every year in hopes that the pain Meadow felt and the guilt that I still feel will save other babies and parents from the same,” she says. “I would also urge mamas to try to get warning signs in their local playgrounds. I’m in the process of doing that now.”