Lap-riding on a Slide Unsafe for Children

Premier Health Now

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.

There’s a growing awareness about slide safety that every parent of a young child needs to know: Mom and Dad should not go down a slide with a child on their lap.

To understand the dangers of this seemingly harmless activity, Premier Health Now talked with Michael Griesser, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Premier Orthopedics.

“Go to any park in America and you see it, but it is a real danger,” says Dr. Griesser. “Going down a slide with your child on your lap only puts them at increased risk.”

A recent Facebook post by a New York mom shows the moment her 1-year-old daughter’s foot gets stuck on a slide, breaking the child’s leg while they ride together.

What makes co-riding a slide so risky is the parent’s weight, says Dr. Griesser.

“If the foot gets caught between the parent and the slide, the leg or ankle gets twisted outward and it can break the bone,” says Dr. Griesser. “The force of the parent’s weight pushing down the slide is enough to break the leg.”

Children should only use slides when they:

  • Are old enough and coordinated enough to climb the ladder themselves
  • Can listen to directions
  • Understand the proper way to ride: bottom down, feet first

A 2009 study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that children who cannot safely use a slide on their own should do a different activity. That same study also found that tibia fractures from co-riding a slide with a parent most often occur in children less than 32 months of age.

A leg break while lap riding on a slide “is a devastating injury,” Dr. Griesser says, noting that slides and trampolines are two of the most common ways children break their legs. “Most kids will recover with appropriate care, but it is devastating to a parent who is trying to be safe and now they feel intimately responsible for their child’s broken leg.”

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.