My girls were both little pip squeaks when they were younger. But like most toddler spit-fires, that never stopped them from wanting to do everything the big kids were doing at the playground. To keep them safe, I often played along with them, even going so far as to slide down the slide with my girls on my lap so they could experience the thrill of the ride while nestled safely in my lap. But were they really any safer or was I actually putting my girls at greater risk of injury?
According to Dr. Ed Holt, an orthopedic surgeon at Anne Arundel Medical enter in Annapolis, Md., I was actually taking a big risk when I slid down the slide with one of my girls on my lap. Holt is trying to get the word out about what he calls the "sliding board fracture," a common playground injury that is caused by parents who think they are keeping kids safe by sliding down the slide with them.
Sliding board fractures are caused when a parent and child are riding down the slide together and the child's shoe catches for a moment on the side or base of the slide. If the child had been riding down the slide on her own, the stuck foot would simply cause her to slow down. But with the momentum of an adult behind her, she keeps sliding, fracturing her tibia along the way.
Need a visual? Holt created a video to explain, and to warn parents about the risk:
Bottom line: If your child is too small to slide down the slide on her own, try holding her hand from the side, or better yet, directing her to another playground activity. I know, I know, that may be easier said than done. But it may be worth enduring a tantrum if it means protecting her little legs.