AAP Warns Parents Against This Playground Activity With Baby

Be careful how you play with baby.
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
Sep 2017
Playground at sunset
Photo: iStock

We definitely encourage playing with baby. But when you’re at the playground, be careful just how hands-on you get. The AAP has a new recommendation you may not have seen coming: parents should not go down a slide with a young child on their lap.

If this sounds ridiculous to you, doctors definitely get that. But they’re explaining you don’t know how easily an accident can occur until it happens to you.

“Many parents and caregivers go down a slide with a young child on their lap without giving it a second thought,” says Charles Jennissen, MD, Clinical Professor and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Staff Physician, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. “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.”

In light of the 352,698 children under 6 who were injured on slides between 2002 and 2015, a new study dedicated entirely to playground slides will be presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Chicago this month. A major takeaway? Toddlers 12 to 23 months have the highest percentage of injury—most commonly a lower leg fracture.

Here’s how it typically happens. A child’s foot will catch the edge or bottom of the slide, and then twist and bend backward as they sit on mom or dad’s lap. Jennissen says toddlers probably wouldn’t be as severely injured if they caught a foot while sliding by themselves, but the force of an adult’s weight can easily break a bone.

This isn’t the first slide injury we’ve reported on. Plastic slides—not just metal—can burn kids after a hot day in the sun. The bottom line? Be extra careful at the playground. Not all safety precautions are common sense.

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