Here's why kids should never go down slide on their parent's lap

Children riding slides while on a parent's lap increases risk of injury, finds study
A common mistake on the playground could send children to the emergency department
Author

17 September, 2017

"Many parents and caregivers go down a slide with a young child on their lap without giving it a second thought", stated lead researcher Charles Jennissen of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. When informed about this, they said they wouldn't have done it if they had known this was such a bad idea. Over a third of these children had had a fracture, and the number of injuries increased among those who didn't ride the slide alone. The age group with the highest number of injuries were between 12 and 23 months (22%), but substantial differences in injury rates, injury diagnosis and affected body part (P .001) were observed based on the child's sex and race within the age groups.

After analyzing the children who had suffered injuries while playing on the slide, they discovered that majority had suffered them after their parents put them on their lap, and went down together.

Injuries sustained by infants and toddlers on playground slides are most commonly observed in the lower extremities, which are significantly more prone to fracture when parents accompany children on the slide, according to a recent presentation at the AAP 2017 National Conference & Exhibition.

It's not uncommon to see a child whizzing down a playground slide on an adult's lap.

In the United Kingdom, around a quarter of accidents on slides end in broken bones, according to figures produced for the Health and Safety Executive.

If a child's foot catches the slide while sliding by themselves, the potential for injury is small due to the relatively low forces involved.

The force created by the forward momentum of an adult is much greater than if the child is alone, which can easily break a bone, Jenissen added. This includes running into a slide, climbing up the chute or being pushed off the top by another child. However NHS Digital still collects data on hospital admissions in England from "falls involving playground equipment", with 8,000 children injured this way in 2014-15.

The researchers recommend that children not go down a slide on another person's lap, and parents and caregivers who elect to do so must use "extreme caution" to prevent the child's foot from catching on the surface.


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