Last week I saw an accident happen right before my eyes when a child sitting on her mother's lap caught her foot on the side of a slide and had to be rushed with an injury to the local hospital.
According to an article in the New York Times orthopedic specialists say they treat a fair number of toddlers and young children each year with broken legs as a result of riding down the slide on a parent’s lap.
A study at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., found that nearly 14 percent of pediatric leg fractures over an 11-month period involved toddlers riding down the slide with a parent. In the instance described, the literal weight and presence of the parent increases harm to their child.
This is nothing but modern-day "helicopter parenting" at its finest. Parents believe that when they let their child sit on their lap on play structures they are protecting them from getting hurt when actually it is the other way around.
Are these parents, despite the best of intentions, turning normal confident children into hesitant, accident prone kids? Is the constant vigilance and remarks such as "Careful, you're going to fall!" similar to my mother's constant reminders of water safety that turned me into having a great fear of water?
If I remember my childhood correctly, the playgrounds were not littered with broken bodies of children that had gone down slides alone. We had dangerous playgrounds by today's standards with a 10 ft high metal slide that were slippery from overuse and sometimes too hot to handle from the sun.
We flipped people off the teeter totters and swam in the water the morning after a fresh rain. Sometimes we went down head first on slides and twisted the swing's chains tightly and then spun around for minutes. How many remember swinging as high as you could with friends and then jumping off the swing?
I never remember seeing that many kids carted off to the 'nurses office' or even a gurney of children that had collapsed from bacteria swimming in the local pond. One has to ask how we ever survived?
If there was ever an example - and metaphor - for parents to stop hovering over their children, this is it. Will tomorrow's followup will be cuts to fingers caused by blades of parents' helicopters?
Of course in the article Dr. Holt said he didn't want to discourage parents from taking their children to the playground or even playing on slides, but Holt did want to spread the word about the risks of sliding with a child on your lap.
"I’m not saying we need to make the entire world out of rubber and insulate kids,” he said. “But this is something that is so totally predictable and preventable. That’s why I want to get the word out this one could go away.”
I agree with his findings after seeing the accident the other day and if you were told all the things that could go wrong in life, or in your kids' lives, and avoided those things, you would never leave your house.
Getting out of bed in the morning is dangerous- but so is staying in bed all day.
CS Lewis: "When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."
Photos by Linda Seccaspina of Strawberry Creek Park Slide
Linda Secaspina 2012- new book "Menopausal Woman From the Corn"
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