The arrival of warm weather provides an opportunity for parents and their children to enjoy outdoor playground activities. While outdoor activities can be a great source of exercise and family bonding time, parents need to be aware of the potential danger that playground slides can present to very young children, even if accompanied by an adult.

Playground slides and the young child

Most parents are aware they must check playground slides to ensure they don’t have any rusty or jagged metal edges and that they’re sturdy and secure. They may not realize, however, that even if they accompany their child down the slide by putting them on their lap, their child is still at an increased risk for a leg injury.

Why leg injuries occur

When an adult accompanies a child down a slide, it increases the downward momentum. If the child’s leg gets caught on the side of the slide or becomes twisted, often the adult can’t stop. In many of these cases, a young child’s leg can become injured. Most of the injuries that occur involve the lower leg, namely, a fracture of the tibia (lower leg bone).

Our recommendation

The medical community now recommends that very young children, ages 5 and below, do not attempt to go down a playground slide, especially when accompanied by an adult. The additional downward momentum that occurs when an adult accompanies a child down a slide increases the risk of the child experiencing a leg injury. Instead, we recommend that children wait to use playground slides until they’re older and can safely use a slide on their own.

If an injury does occur, Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine can help

At Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine, we understand how difficult a lower leg injury can be for an active young child. If your child has recently become injured while engaging in playground activities, please contact us today to learn more about our premier orthopedic injury solutions.