As parents, our child’s safety is always our utmost concern. I believe that most, if not all of us go to great lengths to take all sorts of precautions because it’s always better to be safe than sorry. And of course, you can never be too safe. But did you know there is an aspect of playground safety that many of us are completely in the dark about?
I’m sure you would have seen this happening somewhere or the other. Parents, grandparents, helpers and even siblings do this. They position themselves at the top of a playground slide, with the child on their lap, then push off and slide to the ground.
Sounds fun? Sounds like something you might have done before? Well, if you or anyone that you know is doing this, please stop right now. It’s a complete violation of playground safety and we need to promote more awareness about it!
The irony lies in the fact that more often than not, people slide with their children on their lap, as a safety measure! But little do they know that it puts their child in great danger.
A mum’s experience
Kristi Broughton, a mum from San Francisco, was at the park with her three-year-old son, Gage. It was a day just like any other, and she went down the slide with him on her lap. She had no idea it was an important aspect of playground safety that she was overlooking. And never did she imagine that she would end up rushing him to the emergency room.
But it happened. Gage suffered a broken leg due to this classic playground safety mistake that many parents unknowingly make. He had to be in a cast for four weeks.
Kristi wrote in a Facebook post alongside a photo of her son in the hospital,
“I’m surprised more parents don’t know this or maybe they do and I just learned, but don’t slide with your toddler”.
Image source: Kristi Broughton Poor Gage suffered a broken leg from riding down the slide on his mother’s lap!
Many parents are unaware of this playground safety rule
Sadly, such injuries are alarmingly common and many parents only learn the hard way. According to The New York Times, orthopaedic specialists stated that every year, they see many cases of toddlers and young children with broken legs resulting from riding down a slide on their parent’s lap.
A study at New York’s Winthrop University Hospital found that nearly 14% of paediatric leg fractures over an 11 month period involved toddlers riding down the slide with an adult.
Children are safer riding the slide on their own. In the case of Gage, he was sitting in front of his mother, in between her legs. At the end of the metal slide, the rubber sole of his shoe unfortunately got caught and stopped but his body kept going. This caused him to twist his foot underneath him.
It wouldn’t have been so bad if his mother had not been behind him. “The weight of me behind him was exactly what made it worse. Instead of him being able to correct his foot, my weight kept it going,” said Kristi.
The doctor confirmed that this is a typical way that children at this age suffer from leg fractures.
“I want all parents to know about this because it’s something we all do in the thought to keep our children safe,” Kristi said. “Little did I know that it was much more of a harm to my child”.
Our heart goes out to Kristi and her little boy. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope that all parents can help to spread the message about this important aspect of playground safety!