The danger of children wearing rubber shoes when going down slides
If you allow your child to wear rubber shoes while going down the slide, please read this now.
When it comes to footwear for kids, there's nothing quite as convenient as those Crocs-style rubber shoes. They are versatile (playground to beach to shopping mall) and comfy. However, they have been getting a bad reputation when it comes to escalator safety. There have been quite a few incidents where they've got sucked into the gap between moving escalator stairs due to their flexible nature, injuring the child as a result.
Now, a mum wants all parents to know another little-known risk these flexible rubber shoes pose, but this time, it's related to the playground. Specifically, when sliding with a toddler on the lap while the child is wearing rubber shoes.
It was just like any regular evening when Matthew and Kayla decided to take their toddler Emelyn and son Joseph to the playground. As it was Emelyn's favourite thing to do, they would let Emelyn sit on their lap to go down the big slide. In fact, thousands of other parents go sliding with a toddler on their lap too.
But that evening, Emelyn was wearing some cheap Crocs-like rubber shoes that Kayla had picked up from the supermarket. They were the only shoes she would wear to cover her little feet. As they went down the slide, the shoes gripped the side and her foot got caught between her dad's leg and the plastic edge.
After seeking medical help doctors determined that poor little Emelyn suffered a spiral fracture all the way through her tibia. Emelyn had to be put in a splint before seeing a pediatric orthopaedist to get a cast.
Kayla is relieved that Emelyn will be okay after a few months. But by sharing their ordeal she hopes to send a reminder to all parents about the dangers of sliding with a toddler on the lap, while the child is wearing rubber shoes. She hopes the incident never happens to another precious baby:
"I'm not blaming the shoes or the slide. I'm not blaming anyone or anything for this accident because it's just that: an ACCIDENT. There's a chance this would have still happened with different/no shoes. The ER just mentioned that the rubber caused more friction than most other shoes because of their grip, hence my encouragement to use extra caution if your child wears them."
Emelyn's follow-up with the orthopaedic doctor left them with good news. Their precious toddler will be out of her cast in four weeks which is much sooner than they expected. According to updates from Kayla, Emelyn is even starting to crawl around slowly now which is a really good sign. We really hope she makes a full recovery!
Despite countless slide accidents yearly, we still see parents doing this all the time. Many parents and caregivers go down a slide with a young child on their lap without giving it a second thought. 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.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that it is the size and weight of adults that play a big role in the potential for injury. A young child sliding by themselves is more unlikely to get hurt. But when you factor in the forward momentum of an adult with a child on their lap, a child's bone can easily break if it is caught on the side.
Add rubber shoes to the mix and their grip leaves you with an even greater chance of serious injury to your child.
So don't let your younger children ride bigger slides with them on your lap. It may seem fun and harmless but in actual fact, it is hardly safe. Stick to age-appropriate toddler slides and make sure you keep an eye on them all the time at the playground.
When your child goes down the slide on their own, it's still best to take off their shoes to prevent injuries such as what happened to little Emelyn.
- Children should take one step at a time and hold onto the handrail when climbing to the top. They should not climb up the slide itself to get to the top.
- Kids should always slide down feet first sitting upright. They should never go down head first on their back or stomach.
- Only one child should be on the slide at any time. Refrain from letting kids slide down in groups.
- Always remind kids to check that the bottom of the slide is clear before sliding down. When they reach the bottom, they should move away so that the slide is clear for other kids.