Life / Health

Young kids who go down playground slide on parent's lap risk broken leg: study

It may seem like the safer choice, but researchers say young children who go down a playground slide on a parent's lap are at risk of a broken leg or other injuries.

Researchers found almost 352,700 children under six years of age were injured on slides in the U.S. from 2002 to 2015 — and many of those injuries were leg fractures.

Almost a quarter of injuries occurred in toddlers aged 12 to 23 months. More than a third of the injuries in children overall were fractures, usually involving a lower leg.

The researchers say that in most cases, this type of fracture happens when the child's foot catches the edge or bottom of the slide, then twists and bends backward while sitting on a parent's lap.

Lead researcher Dr. Charles Jennissen, a pediatric emergency physician at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, says a young child sliding by themselves is unlikely to get a severe leg injury, even if their foot catches.

But he says because of the greater force generated by the forward momentum of an adult, the child can easily break a bone if their foot gets caught.

"Many parents and caregivers go down a slide with a young child on their lap without giving it a second thought," says Jennissen in a release. "And in most cases I have seen, the parents had no idea that doing so could possibly give their child such a significant injury. They often say they would never have done it had they known."

The study's findings will be presented Monday at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference in Chicago.


More on