What do slides and helicopters have in common? … Apparently parents.
Thanks to my tired old knees, I’ve had to move my exercising back in doors. I’m hoping to hit the running circuit again, soon. But until then, the stash of Blue Bell mini ice-cream sandwiches is forcing me to exercise. I mean seriously, how can I stop myself from partaking with the kids? Isn’t it proper manners?! No one should ever dine alone.
While plugging away on the ever-so-slightly boring elliptical machine that is housed in our work-out/conservatory/media/guest room (a 9×14 study off of our living room – yes, we shoved all that stuff in a little space), I battled monotony by watching Live a with Kelly re-run yesterday.
As they laughed their way through the monologue, her guest host held up a NY Times article on kids and slides. In A Surprising Risk For Toddlers On Playground Slides (4/23/12) Tara Parker-Pope shares: “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.” The article begins with the story of Hannah who, while on her mother’s lap, broke her leg when her it got stuck between her mom and the slide.
“This fracture is entirely preventable,” said Dr. Edward Holt, the orthopedic surgeon at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis who has created a warning poster for local pediatrician offices and a You Tube video alerting parents to the hazard.
This may be one of those counter-intuitive cases when a child is safer by himself. If a foot gets caught while the child is sliding alone, he can just stop moving or twist around until it comes free. But when a child is sitting in an adult lap, the force of the adult’s weight behind him ends up breaking his leg.
Why do parents ride the slide with their child?
“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.”
All in a well-intentioned, loving effort to protect our kids, we not only ride the slide, but do the homework (one friend recently told me a story about catching her sister reading a homework assignment to a sleeping child because “it’s due tomorrow”), fill out the college applications, apply for jobs… okay – stopping here.
Maybe not be a broken leg, but what injuries might we unintentionally inflict on our kids in our efforts to protect and save?
Dr. Holt said he did not want to discourage parents from taking their children to the playground or even playing on slides, but did want to spread the word about the risks of sliding with a child on your lap.
To prevent the injury, the best solution is to allow a child to slide by himself, with supervision and instructions on how to play safely.
Thanks for walking the road with me :)