It only feels real when it hits closer to home. After an afternoon at the playground when my friend Kristen told us that she ended up in the emergency room watching doctors treat her nearly-3-year-old son Gage’s leg, I knew it was serious.
She said, “I’m surprised more parents don’t know this or maybe they do and I just learned but DON’T slide with your toddler. Gage now has a broken leg due to this very classic mistake all parents do, including myself obviously.”
The thing is, I had just seen it happen at the park. And I have even done it myself.
The New York Times published an article about a study done at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y (not far from where I grew up). Dr. John Gaffney, a pediatric orthopedic specialist at Winthrop who conducted the study, said after he had treated a rash of playground slide fracture he found data indicating that every sliding fracture involved a child younger than 3 riding in an adult’s lap. The fracture might not be immediately obvious, but typically the child appeared to be in pain and could not put weight on the leg. And that nearly 14 percent of pediatric leg fractures over an 11-month period involved toddlers riding down the slide with a parent.
The article in the New York Times mentions safe practice which includes:
“To prevent the injury, the best solution is to allow a child to slide by himself, with supervision and instructions on how to play safely. Young children can be placed on the slide at the halfway point with a parent standing next to the slide. At the very least, parents should remove a child’s shoes before riding down the slide with the child on their laps, and make sure the child’s legs don’t touch the sides or sliding surface.”
And while parents should have fun this summer on playgrounds, Kristen says she just wants the message to go far and wide to parents who think, (like she did and many of us do), that they are being safer riding down the slide with their little ones. It can turn a fun afternoon in the playground to a night at the E.R. without knowing this quick tip.
Photo source: Kristen Broughton