Curious Parents

There's a Safer Way to Go Down the Slide With Your Child

If you've got kids, you're going to spend a significant chunk of your year at the park. For as much fun as the kids may have, there's also a significant amount of danger, too. Toddlers can fall off swings, hit their heads on monkey bars, and tumble off of slides. So you should stay as close as possible while they play, right? Yes, usually. But there may be one exception: riding down the slide with your little one on your lap? That's bad news, according to pediatric researchers.

The Foot Bone's Connected To The Leg Bone

A research team led by Dr. Charles Jennissen, a clinical professor and pediatric emergency-room physician at the University of Iowa, looked at emergency-room injury data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). They found that of the estimated 352,698 children younger than age six who were injured on slides from 2002 through 2015, 36 percent suffered lower-leg fractures, making it the most common injury overall.

But why would that be? Of all the injuries a toddler is likely to sustain, you'd think the face and arms would be the big ones. If little Susie fell off the ladder on her way up, she'd bonk her head, or hurt her wrist trying to break her fall. If she lost control on the way down,  thing — she'd land head first or on a hand or arm. So why all the leg injuries?

You Must Be This Short To Ride

Researchers say that in most cases, lower-leg fractures happen when a child sits on a parent's lap on the slide. If Susie slides by herself, her foot might catch on the edge or the bottom of the slide, but that would probably bring her to a complete stop until she could free herself. If Susie rides on an adult's lap, that stuck foot would then twist backward as the full weight of the adult kept the pair moving.

"Many parents and caregivers go down a slide with a young child on their lap without giving it a second thought," Jennissen said in a press release. "And in most cases I have seen, the parents had no idea that doing so could possibly give their child such a significant injury. They often say they would never have done it had they known."

The researchers aren't saying you should never slide with a child. All they're saying is that if you do, you should be aware of the risks, and take care to protect their limbs. In the wise words of theme parks everywhere, keep all hands and feet inside the vehicle until the ride comes to a complete stop.

Playground Safety Tips

Written by Ashley Hamer October 12, 2017

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