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The Globe and Mail

The latest threat to your child at the park? You'll be surprised

It's best to send a child down a slide alone, some doctors say.

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One of the recurring suggestions for keeping kids healthy is oh-so-simple: Take them to the park.

Now, an amendment to that advice: Take them to the park but don't go down the slide with little ones if you'd like to avoid an emergency-room visit.

In a common toddler injury, the child's sneaker can become stuck on the slide and the weight of the parent behind the child can cause a fractured leg, according to the New York Times. It's actually safer for the child to go solo.

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Edward Holt, an orthopedic surgeon at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis has created a YouTube video alerting parents to the hazard and how it happens. He spoke with the Times about an injury he'd like to see disappear. "This fracture is entirely preventable," he said.

One hospital study in New York state found "that nearly 14 per cent of pediatric leg fractures over an 11-month period involved toddlers riding down the slide with a parent," reports the Times.

In one case Dr. Holt treated, an 18-month-old's tibia was fractured when sliding down a twisting slide with her mom. Hannah's sneaker caught the side of the slide and, although the mother was able to free it, by the time they reached the bottom, "the girl was whimpering and could not walk."

"My wife was just trying to keep Hannah extra safe and make sure she didn't fall," the child' father, Jed Dickman, told the Times. "She felt very guilty about it."

Dr. Holt said that, while the injuries do heal after four to six weeks in a cast, these cases can rock a family.

"The parents are always crushed that they broke their kid's leg and are baffled as to why nobody ever told them this could happen," Dr. Holt said. "Sometimes one parent is angry at the other parent because that parent caused the child's fracture. It has some real consequences to families, and I hate to see it happen."

Parents, will you be changing your playground habits this summer?

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