Most parents think nothing of letting their littles ones slide down the slides when visiting a playground. However, one mom is warning parents about the potential dangers of slides after her daughter, Meadow, suffered a serious injury from going down the slide at Heckscher Park in Huntington, New York.
Meadow has a twin brother, Matthew, and he rode down the slide on his mom’s lap first. But when the twins’ mom, Heather Clare, took Meadow down the slide for her turn, the toddler’s foot got caught between her mom and the slide.
Clare’s husband happened to snap a photo at the moment the injury occurred, and it shows Meadow’s foot twisted in the opposite direction.
The accident occurred in 2015, and every year since, Clare has posted the photo to Facebook to warn parents in hopes of preventing similar accidents in the future.
When they reached the bottom of the slide, Meadow was crying in pain, and Clare realized that her daughter was badly injured. They rushed to the emergency room, where it was determined that the girl had fractured the tibia and fibula in her right leg. Meadow then had to wear a cast for four weeks. Here she is during her recovery:
In her post, Clare explained her motivation behind sharing the accident and urged other parents to think twice before riding a slide with a child in their laps, in order to prevent similar injuries.
“I share this picture every year in hopes that the pain Meadow felt and the guilt that I still feel will save other babies and parents from the same,” she wrote. “Don’t ever go down a slide with a baby on your lap. There is no SAFE way to go down a slide with your little.”
Although it’s common practice for parents to ride down slides with their small children in their laps, Clare soon learned that injuries from riding slides this way are actually quite common. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 350,000 children under the age of 6 were hurt on slides in the United States from 2002 through 2015.
Many of the injuries were leg fractures, and the organization found that riding a slide while on a parent’s lap increased the risk of injury. Clare says two doctors confirmed this finding in the wake of her daughter’s injury and informed her that the safest way to ride a slide is with only one person at a time.
“They both advised us that there really is no safe way to go down the slide with your child in your lap,” she told People. “Even if parents tuck in their child’s feet, they can get stuck under their parents then. They really advise one person at a time down a slide.”
Meadow is now 3 years old, and fortunately, she has made a full recovery. Here she is now, happy and healthy:
Dr. John Torres, a medical correspondent for NBC News, agrees with Clare’s assertion that parents should avoid riding slides with their children.
“The safest way for a child to go down a slide with their parent is not in the parent’s lap,” Torres told NBC’s “Today.” “Instead, the parent wants to stand next to the slide, hold the child on there about halfway up, and let the child go down while you’re guarding them.”