Danger on the Playground

I Broke My Toddler's Foot - Toddling Around Chicagoland

This article originally appeared on Mommy Nearest. Download the free Mommy Nearest app to find family-friendly resources in your area and to read articles written by me and other “Expert Moms”. 

The weather is finally starting to warm up a little bit and after the winter we’ve experienced this year I expect to find mobs of parents and kids at the park this week. That’s why I think it’s really important to tell you this.

I have a confession.

Five years ago, when my oldest son was 1, I broke his foot.

It wasn’t intentional, but it was my fault. I actually thought I was keeping him extra safe, but I was wrong.

I’m a bit of an over-protective mother now. When my oldest was a toddler I was VERY overprotective. We were celebrating some early spring weather (much like the weather this week) with a trip to the park. I pushed him on the swings and followed him around the park as he played. He may have been big enough to go down the slide alone, but I was concerned about him falling off at the bottom.

I climbed to the top of the slide with him, sat down, and put him on my lap. We went down the slide together, but the rubber sole of his little shoe stuck to the side of the slide as we slid and his foot bent a little. It didn’t seem like much, but by the time we got to the bottom of the slide he was crying. I held him and comforted him until he calmed down. When he stopped crying I leaned over to put him down, but he pulled his legs up, refusing to stand.

Several x-rays later I was told he had broken a small bone in his foot and would need to see an orthopedic specialist. Luckily, he didn’t need a cast. The specialist felt it would be more of a nuisance than a help so I was told to encourage him to crawl instead of walk and give him pain relievers when necessary.

Much to my surprised, both the pediatrician and the orthopedic specialist just nodded when I told my story of how the injury occurred and told me how often they treat these injuries. We were lucky; many children break their leg this way.

Last year, Jennifer Hudson talked about how it happened to her son.

In fact, it may be the most common way a child breaks a leg. A study at Winthrop University Hospital in New York examined 58 tibia fractures and found that 13% of them were a occurred on a slide. In all cases, the child was sitting on the lap of an adult.

Although shoes can get caught on the slide when children ride alone, they are more likely to slow down or stop when it happens. The additional weight and momentum of an adult creates a great risk of injury.

The good news is that these fractures are entirely preventable. If your child is too young to go down a slide alone find something else for them to do, and spread the word to other parents.

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