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Unfortunately, a friend of mine told me this week that her toddler daughter sustained a tibial fracture. She said that she came down a slide with her daughter on her lap, which, most parents I know, myself included, have done multiple times. While they were coming down, her daughter’s foot got stuck on the side of the slide and she let out a loud shriek. Since then, her daughter has not been able to bear weight on her leg. My friend took her daughter to a hospital where she was diagnosed with a non-displaced tibial fracture.

Apparently this is not such a rare occurrence and an article on just this topic was published less than a month ago in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, titled “Tibia Fractures in Children Sustained on a Playground Slide.” The article is a retrospective study by Dr. John T. Gaffney, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in Mineola, NY, who looked at 58 patients with tibial fractures and focused on the 8 cases which all happened while playing on a slide. The age of those 8 children ranged from 14-32 months and in ALL of the cases the child suffered a fracture while going down the slide on an adult’s lap. It appears that the injury happens when a child’s foot gets stuck on the side of the slide and because the parent’s speed and momentum makes it difficult to stop, this results in a tibial fracture for the child. The study recommends that if a child cannot safely go down a slide on their own, they should be redirected to a different activity to maximize the child’s safety.

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