Mom Shares the 'Exact Moment' a Toddler Fractured Her Leg & Every Parent Needs to See It

Heather Clare Slide PSA
Heather Clare/Facebook

Now that we’ve officially hit summer, parents and kids are surely going to be spending some quality playtime at their local parks. And while it’s common for a parent to be nervous about the monkey bars or swing sets, one mom wants to spread the word about a piece of jungle gym equipment that we don’t often consider too dangerous: the slide. In fact, it’s the one part of the playground that parents often use with their youngsters and that's the major problem.

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After her daughter suffered a serious injury in 2015, mother-of-three Heather Clare wrote an important PSA on Facebook, warning parents that even though they think they are taking precautions by going down slides with their kids on their laps, they are actually putting their children’s bodies in serious danger.

“Every year I do a PSA on going down a slide with your child on your lap,” she wrote in the post which has been shared over 85,000 times. “When [my daughter] Meadow was 12 months old I went down the slide with her on my lap and her foot got caught between me and the slide.”

Heather Clare Slide PSA
Heather Clare/Facebook

“She’s still smiling... because it was happening at this exact moment.”

As they continued sliding, Meadow fractured her tibia and fibula thanks to her foot getting unknowingly caught. 

“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.”

Unfortunately for baby Meadow, Heather’s doctor was right. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “an estimated 352, 698 children less than 6 years of age were injured on slide in the United States from 2002 through 2015, and many of those injuries were leg fractures.”

Meadow Clare
Heather Clare

Speaking with CafeMom, Heather says that her doctor explained to her that adults take up too much space on the slide and don't allow enough room for the child to sit, meaning that the chances of arms and legs catching are higher.

“The weight of the adult doesn’t allow for the child to stop on the slide,” she explains. “[The doctor] said that even keeping the child’s legs in-between the adult’s legs is unsafe because the child’s feet can get stuck under the adult.”

Heather adds that for similar reasons “it’s [also] unsafe for children to ride with other children or older siblings.”

For poor Meadow, whom Heather tells us was only two weeks past her first birthday and had only taken her first steps three days prior to the incident, the break meant possible complications for Meadow’s growth down the road.

"She was in a cast for four weeks," she says. "Initially, she had trouble getting around with her cast, but she did learn to crawl with it pretty quickly. She even taught herself how to walk on it with a push walker.”

Once the break had healed, her mother explains, Meadow had to go to physical therapy to “strengthen the leg and to learn how to crawl and walk properly with it.”

Moving forward, Heather says that Meadow will be required to have annual visits with the orthopedic doctor to monitor her leg growth. “Because the break was close to the growth plate, the doctor wasn’t sure if her legs would grow the same because of it," she says. “So far, her legs have been ok and they are the same length, but that is a potential issue with this injury."

Meadow Clare
Heather Clare

In a press release, Charles Jennissen, MD, and Clinical Professor and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Staff Physician at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, warned that parents simply don’t know how dangerous going down the slide with their kids can be.

“Many parents and caregivers go down a slide with a young child on their lap without giving it a second thought,” he wrote. “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 have never done it had they known.”

That's exactly why Heather has been trying to raise awareness on social media. She tells us that if parents want to ensure that their little ones make it down the slide safely, “the safest ways are to hold your child while you stand next to the slide. And hold them underneath the armpits so that you can control their speed and so they don’t have limbs falling.”

She also suggests using “two slides, side by side, where you can ride next to your child but you are on a different slide than them. That’s safer.”

Ultimately, Heather concludes the safest way for a child to go down a slide is alone, “if they are too young to do so, then they shouldn’t ride the slide yet.”

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