A Surprising Risk for Toddlers on Playground Slides

A Surprising Risk for Toddlers on Playground Slides
The Well Column, The New York Times
By TARA PARKER-POPE
April 23, 2012

Last spring, Katie Dickman of Dunkirk, Md., was at the playground with her 18-month-old toddler, Hannah, when the little girl asked to ride down a twisting slide. Ms. Dickman accompanied her daughter, carefully keeping the child on her lap as they coasted to the bottom.

But without warning, Hannah’s sneaker caught on the side of the slide. Although Ms. Dickman grabbed the leg and unstuck her daughter’s foot, by the time they reached the ground, the girl was whimpering and could not walk. A doctor’s visit later revealed a fractured tibia.

“My wife was just trying to keep Hannah extra safe and make sure she didn’t fall,” said Hannah’s father, Jed Dickman. “She felt very guilty about it.”

As the Dickmans soon learned, such injuries are surprisingly common. Although nobody keeps national statistics, orthopedic specialists say they treat a number of toddlers and young children each year with broken legs as a result of riding down the slide on a parent’s lap. A study at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., found that nearly 14 percent of pediatric leg fractures over an 11-month period involved toddlers riding down the slide with a parent.

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