Two weeks ago, my one year old son broke his leg at the playground. He suffered an oblique tibial fracture, through his growth plate near his ankle. He didn’t fall. What happened was something surprisingly common, but until my son actually broke his leg, I never knew that we were putting him in danger. The question that keeps coming to me, as I watch my newly walking toddler hobble around with a tiny cast on, is “Why aren’t parents informed about this?”
How My Son Broke His Leg
My husband, Barclay, and I took our children to the playground near our house. I went home to make dinner and he stayed with the kids until food was ready. Then I got a text saying, “I think something is seriously wrong with Chace’s leg.” Chace had been in his dad’s lap going down a spiral slide at the playground when my son’s foot got caught on the side of the slide. Apparently my husband’s weight had generated enough force going down the slide that he heard a snap. When we noticed Chace wasn’t putting pressure on his foot, off to Urgent Care they went. Chace had an oblique fracture in his tibia, through the growth plate and needed to be seen by the orthopedic doctor as soon as possible. He needs to wear a cast for a month and then an x-ray every six months to make sure his legs are growing at the same rate.
How Common This Injury Is
From my own internet research, and the orthopedic doctor we saw, this EXACT scenario is surprisingly common. Going down a spiral slide on a parent’s lap causes 15% of all tibia fractures in infants. The rest are made up of child abuse and car accidents. Of course, everyone who sees my little guy in a cast asks what happened to him and a lot of them have similar stories of broken legs in either their kids or kids they know. Every day I meet another parent who has experienced a similar injury from a spiral slide. In fact, a couple days after Chace’s injury, a child on one of my Facebook mom groups of just 600 women suffered the exact same injury for the same reason.
Why are parent’s not informed about this risk?
As parents, we would never knowingly endanger our children. If my husband has known that my son could potentially suffer a broken leg from going down the slide in his lap, he would have absolutely not taken the risk. Until it happened to us, we had no idea that was a risk. Parents need to know that it is not safe to ride down slides, specifically ones that spiral, with small children in their laps. This needs to get out there to protect others from the pain my son has gone through. There must be some kind of education about the danger of these slides.
It is never safe for a child to ride down a slide in their parent’s lap.