Recently, model Chrissy Teigen was criticized and “mom-shamed” for posting an Instagram photo of her on a playground slide with her daughter on her lap. Many commenters told her that riding a slide in such a way is dangerous, because it risks breaking the child’s leg. Teigen responded by saying it was only a photo, and that she and her daughter never actually rode the slide.
This story is not intended to make a judgment on Teigen either way, but rather, to recognize that such injuries are as common as they are unsuspecting.
“I think the point of the conversation about slides is just to make parents aware, said Kevin Borrup, the Associate Director for the Injury Prevention Program for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, “I don’t think most parents think of this. Most people don’t think of the potential danger here.”
Borrup said there are no nationwide numbers but that many thousands of young kids get hurt on slides each year.
“… and last year, researchers found for children aged 12-to-23 months, that a very common injury was a lower extremity injury like a leg fracture, and the majority of those, when they looked into the details, they found it was a child sitting on a parent’s lap, going down a slide,” he said.
The reasoning is ironic. Often a parent is just trying to protect a child who’s scared, but instead winds up being the main force behind a leg injury.
“When parents place children on their lap to go down the slide, what children often do is put out their legs to brace themselves to stop them going down. When a child puts out a leg to brace themselves, they can get injured and break a leg because the force of the adult going down the slide continues and a child’s not strong enough to really stop those forces,” said Borrup.
So what should you do if your child is scared on the slide?
“Be extra careful. Hold on to their legs to make sure their legs don’t come in contact with the slide’s surface,” said Borrup.
“And of course the safest thing is for children to just go down alone.”