Doctors warn against going down slides with children

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Doctors are warning against adults riding down slides with children on their laps. The action could cause serious injury to the child. (Ty Mullen)

It’s common to see a parent sliding down a slide with a child on his or her lap, but doctors are warning against it after a recent study was highlighted as a part of the American Academy of Pediatrics September 2017 conference.

The study, led by researcher Charles A. Jennissen, said the action puts children at high risk of lower-extremity injuries. Often the child’s foot can be caught on the side of the slide while the adult’s momentum moves him or her forward.

“Many parents and caregivers go down a slide with a young child on their lap without giving it a second thought,” Jennissen said in a press release.

Over 350,000 children five-years-old or younger were injured on a slide between 2002 and 2015, according to the study titled “Playground slide-related injuries in preschool children: increased risk of lower extremity injuries when riding on laps.”

The study states that more injuries were seen in children three-years-old or younger, and children were 12 times more likely to be on someone’s lap at the time of the injury. The most frequent diagnosis was a fracture. 

“Most adults may be unaware of the risks associated with putting a young child on their lap to go down a slide,” the study stated. “Few have received safety information or counseling regarding this issue.”

The warning has taken many parents by surprise. Mother from Highland Kimmy May said she was unaware of the risks before hearing of the study.

“I had never even thought about it before. I can see how that can happen, though. In the future, I’ll have (my child) close and make sure their legs are on top of mine so there is no way their foot can get caught,” May said.

Karen Weatherston of Boise, Idaho, takes her child to play at the park often and was initially very surprised to hear the dangers of slides at playgrounds.

“It seems so innocent. But when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense because those little legs can break,” Weatherston said.

If you choose to continue sliding down the slide with a child on your lap, it’s recommended you be aware of the risks and use caution.

“Based on our findings, we would recommend that young children not go down a slide on another person’s lap,” stated the study. “If they elect to engage in this activity, extreme caution is necessary, and the child’s legs need be secured such that their feet will not catch the slide’s surfaces.”

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