Summer is almost here, and you know what that means: so many trips to the playground to soak up the sun and run out all that pent-up energy from your kiddos. Fortunately, there are tons of things to do together at the playground. You can give swing pushes (or swing beside them), hold their hands as they balance on beams, help them cross the monkey bars, or just stand at the ready — cringing in anxiety — when they’re adamant they can do the zipline without help. One thing you shouldn’t do at the park or playground? Slide down the slide with your kid.
While it seems like a fun memory to make and almost a rite of passage in parenthood, one TikToker wants to gently remind parents that doing so can actually do a lot of damage. Pediatric emergency medicine doctor (and mom of four) @Beachgem10 recently shared a video with a straightforward message: This seemingly harmless activity is a common cause of broken legs in infants and toddlers.
Feeling attacked? You’re not alone. But knowing the truth can help keep your little safe(r).
“So now we’re not supposed to slide down slides with our kids or play at the park with our kids,” TikTok user Caley Carroll posted, responding to a commenter who shared the dangers of sliding down the slide with your child. “No, really. I would love to hear everybody chime in on this: What’s your opinion about sliding with your children?”
Enter @Beachgem10, who chimed in to share their expert advice and gentle warning to parents looking to play on the playground this summer.
“I’m a pediatric emergency medicine doctor and we commonly see infants and toddlers breaking their legs because they’re sliding down a slide on the lap of an adult or an older sibling,” the doc explains. “Their little foot usually gets caught against the slide or sometimes underneath the bigger person’s leg. The inertia of the bigger person is propelling them down the slide and it’s too much pressure and it breaks the bone.”
Yikes! Ain’t nobody got time for an emergency room visit or the subsequent medical bills, and that’s exactly what you could be looking at if you slide down the slide with your toddler and end up catching their leg under you.
In fact, 2017 research by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that hundreds of thousands of children were injured on slides in the U.S. between 2002 and 2015. According to researchers, toddlers ages 12 to 23 months had the highest percentile of injuries in kids under 6 years old.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still play and engage with your kiddo at the park.
“The safest thing is one person sliding at a time. But you can still play in the park with your kids,” she reminds parents and those who are quick to feel overwhelmed by this “new rule.” “They love that kind of stuff, when their parents are engaged in playing with them and catching them at the bottom of the slide. Just don’t slide down with them… unless you wanna meet me in the ER.”
A couple of commenters even shared how they do slides “together.”
“Yes! I hold his hands and slowly guide his hands down the slide!” commented Sarah Jackson.
“When my toddler wants to go ‘together’ I go first and she goes right behind me. She enjoys it just as much,” said another commenter, Montessori Explained.
And, of course, as @BeachGem10 points out, you can always wait at the bottom to catch your sliding child.