Playground danger: Beware when sliding with child

Doctors say child's foot can get stuck, leg can break

By Allison McGinley - News Director

WINTER PARK, Fla. - The last time your toddler or preschooler took a ride down the slide where were you? Were you perched at the bottom waiting to scoop them up? Or did you go along for the ride?

The way you answer that question will likely change after you read this.

'Whether they're tall and fast or twisty and curvy, kids are drawn like a magnet to slides.

Moms and dads on the other hand? They simply see danger.

"You're afraid of them falling backwards or hitting their heads or falling off the side," said Alexandra a Central Florida mom of 3 year-old twin boys.

That's why so many parents like her prefer to tag along.

"You tell them to wait until you get up there. You put them on your lap. You go down and then they want to do it again and you repeat," she said.

But believe it or not, that's actually more dangerous.

Doctor Jay Albright, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon for Arnold Palmer Hospital warns you can actually break your child's leg.

"We see this fracture every week really, so it's very common," said Albright.

A recent study done by a New York hospital offers the numbers to prove it.

During one year, 14 percent of all leg fractures they treated were caused by parents or caregivers riding down the slide with the child.

The average age of the injured child was only 20 months old.

"As you're coming down the slide if they start to bend their knees and the slide is right there and the shoe catches it starts to stop. The foot and the ankle get trapped by the parent's body weight and as that pushes forward and that snaps the leg," Albright said.

Albright says if you still don't want your child to slide solo be careful about how you sit with them.

"I would have their feet on the outside of your legs not in between your legs," said Albright.

If your child's leg ever gets trapped and you suspect it's broken, Albright suggests wrapping the leg in a magazine and taping it in place. That will immobilize the leg and reduce the level of pain while you drive them to the doctor or emergency clinic.

But it's truly best to keep your child off the big slides until they're old enough to go it alone or find a playground that's age appropriate. Most playgrounds list the age range on a sign nearby.

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