Some of my fondest childhood memories involved me doing things that weren't exactly safe, especially by today's standards.
When I think about the old-school, steel playgrounds we would run and hang around on, or that dragon made out of old tires at Link Elementary that poetically had a wasp's nest hanging in its jaws, I think that maybe a few adjustments could've been made to keep kids safer.
Although, on the other hand, no one was injured all that seriously, so maybe a little danger is good for children? It's tough to decide, but what I do know is that the surefire way to suck the fun out of something is to talk about how dangerous it is and get all Mr. or Mrs. Worst-Case-Scenario on people.
I have two kids, the oldest is a toddler who loves wrestling and pillow fighting and running around the house. There's always a bit of rough-housing, which is apparently healthy, even if it does lead to a few bumps and bruises.
But there are some seemingly innocuous activities that could result in some serious injuries for kids. Take a look at this photo of a mother going down a slide with her adorable one-year-old daughter, Meadow. What do you see?
If you're looking at the unnatural angle Meadow's leg is turning in, then you spotted what's wrong in this photo.
The baby's sneaker caused traction on the slide, as she doesn't understand the concept of keeping her legs straight in front of her yet. As a result, the weight of Clare bore down the slide and sadly, broke her little daughter's leg.
Clare wrote about the scary day in a Facebook post, urging other parents not to the make the same mistake she did and, as cute as it is, not to ride down the slide with their babies.
Clare shares her 'PSA' every single year, and mentions that it's one of the most common summertime injuries parents bring their children into the ER for.
So every year I do a PSA on going down a slide with your child on your lap. When Meadow was 12 months old (I went down with Matthew first, but he was lucky) , I went down the slide with her on my lap and her foot got caught between me and the slide. This picture is the moment her leg was breaking. She’s still smiling... because it was happening at this exact moment. When we went to the ER, the super empathetic 🙄 doctor lectured me on how common this injury is. I had no idea. I thought everyone took their kids down the slide. I strongly feel every playground should have a warning sign, but since I’ve never seen one (and we go to ALOT of playgrounds), 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. 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.
Predictably, there were tons of parents who were quick to judge Clare for riding down a slide with her daughter, saying that knowing not to do that is pretty much "common sense."
In her defense though, I didn't know how harmful it could potentially be and that so many children get sent to the hospital for it. Inevitably, Clare had to dispel the idea that she was recklessly endangering her child and drive home the fact that this was a freak accident that happens to many parents.
ETA: For all of the common sense posts... it is literally one of the top 3 reasons young children are seen in the ER during the Spring and Summer.
For everyone commenting on how I am holding my daughter. We didn’t start this way. She was centered on my lap. When I realized what was happening, I used my top hand to try to stop us and leaned to release her foot. I wasn’t riding down the slide with her on one side and leaning. That’s “common sense.”🙄
There are tons of articles and studies out there that stress how common of a mistake this is, and plenty of parents have made that mistake, which either resulted in close-calls or really bad injuries for their children.
Now if you really want to get yourself freaked out, you can check out this list of the most common playground injuries. Some of them actually sound downright horrifying. Like swing sets breaking because of faulty or rusted chains. Imagine swinging your toddler and then all of a sudden they go sailing through the air because of some old chains? Try testing them out first.
You'll also want to watch out for "pinch" hazard rides and equipment. They could result in cut or amputated limbs. Yikes.
Kids also can their heads/body parts stuck in holes that are just big enough to fit through, so if you have a notoriously squirmy youngun, watch out for those.
Exposed bits of metal and rusty, nails and/or screws can also turn a harmless play session into a visit to the tetanus shot fairy.
The best thing to be is prepared whenever you take your kid's out to play. Thankfully for Heather Clare and her daughter Meadow, the little baby bounced back from her injury and is looking happier than ever.
You can have fun without being an overly-protective helicopter parent, but striking that balance is the challenging part.