Why You Shouldn't Let A Kid Sit On Your Lap On A Slide

Photo: Getty Images.

It may seem safer (and frankly, more fun) to let a child try out their first time on a slide by setting them on your lap and going down with them, but apparently it's much more dangerous than it appears.

Riding down a slide with a kid on your lap, a new study says, increases the likelihood that they will injure or break a leg.

The study, which is set to be presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition on September 18, found that an estimated 352,698 children less than 6 years of age were injured on slides in the United States from 2002 through 2015, and many of those injuries were leg fractures.

In fact, 36% of children examined in the study had leg fracture injuries, particularly in the lower leg. In most cases, this happened when a child's foot caught onto the edge of the slide and twists and bends backwards on a parent's lap.

If that sounds macabre, well, apparently it happens more often than you'd expect. Presumably, if a child is on a slide on their own, it lessens the likelihood that their bodies would be raised enough for a wayward foot to catch on the edge. Plus, researchers said that the force generated with an adult on the slide is much greater than it would be with just a child on their own.

"Many parents and caregivers go down a slide with a young child on their lap without giving it a second thought," lead researcher Charles Jennissen, MD, clinical professor and pediatric emergency medicine staff physician at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine said in a statement. "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 never have done it had they known."

That's not to say, of course, that having a child on your lap automatically puts them at risk — as with many situations, you'll have to use your own discretion.

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