Mom’s Viral Post Warns: Doing This With Your Kids at the Playground Can Hurt Them

playground safety

Playground season has been in full swing for a couple of months now, and my kids and I have enjoyed our fair share of park-hopping already. Now that they’re older, it’s a relief to me to not have to climb up any large play structures to rescue them when they’ve lost their nerve to go down a really tall slide. They’re also all old enough to be able to do the swings without me pushing them, so basically, a park visit is just a little R & R in the sunshine for me. I’ll admit it, I’m in the stage of parenting where I haven’t thought about playground safety in a REALLY long time. (Which, maybe I shouldn’t admit, I mean, I DO watch them at the park but I’m not a helicopter mom!)

But THEN. This morning I saw a viral Facebook post about playground safety that made my heart stop for a minute.

Because I’ve made this specific playground safety mistake SEVERAL times, and apparently, my kids and I just got lucky.

In a post that has been shared over a whopping 98,000 times, mom Heather Clare shares what happened to her and her daughter at the playground a few years ago so that other parents can be informed. Because, she says, she had NO idea what she was doing with her daughter was dangerous AT ALL.

She says:

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.

Warning: I’ll pause here to say some of you may find this picture disturbing, now that you know what it is of. (When I saw it before I had read what it was, I wasn’t disturbed. It’s not graphic.)

playground safety
Photo: Heather Clare

She continues:

She’s still smiling… because it was happening at this exact moment. When we went to the ER, the super empathetic [sarcasm] 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.

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.”

Wow! Honestly when I read this, my heart dropped to my stomach, because I have done this many times when my kids were younger, and I had no idea that I could badly injure them by taking them down a slide on my lap. I agree with Heather that there should be playground safety warning signs concerning this at parks. So, maybe I am lacking common sense, but I just had not realized this was dangerous, and I am so thankful that my kids were never injured because of my ignorance.

It also surprised me that the doctor who saw little Meadow “lectured” her mom on how common this injury is, because I’ve never known a parent in real life who took their child down the slide and ended up in the ER. (Not one who admitted it anyway!) My lack of knowledge on the subject makes me appreciate this mom’s warning even more. With over 98,000 shares so far, I’ve no doubt that Heather and Meadow’s story will save another child from being injured this way on a playground slide.

As you head out to the parks around town with the kiddos in tow, parents, I hope you will keep Heather Clare’s playground safety warning in mind. And please, share this story so your friends and family can be safe as well.


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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.