One of the saddest aspects of my job as a Florida injury attorney is when I am called upon to represent a child innocently injured in a preventable accident. Florida playground and recess injuries are common and often involve inadequate ground padding, poorly maintained equipment or lack of supervision. Surprisingly, one of the most common playground injuries occurs when the child is literally in the lap of an adult. “Sliding board injuries” happen when an adult is holding a child wearing rubber soled shoes, using a typical playground slide. As the two are going down the slide, the child’s foot gets caught and stuck on the side of the slide and twists; causing a spiral fracture of the tibia or lower leg bone.
This kind of bone break is very painful and requires at least six weeks in a cast and sometimes surgery and physical therapy. Depending on the age and location of the break, it can also leave the kid with a lifelong deformity. Understandably, parents also suffer when this happens as they are often racked with guilt and subjected to anger from the other parent for injuring their child.
These types of playground accidents are not uncommon, According to a recent published study at the Winthrop University Hospital in New York, evaluating 11 months of pediatric injuries treated at an emergency room, nearly 14 percent of all children treated for broken legs sustained the injury while using a playground slide.
Fortunately, this kind of children’s injury is completely preventable, according to the brilliant Dr. Edward S. Holt, M.D. an orthopedic surgeon at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Maryland. The best way to prevent this kind of injury is to simply allow the child to slide down by himself. Our personal injury lawyers in Miami strongly recommend that children always have adult supervision and specific instructions on how to safely use slides and other playground equipment. Another good option, is to simply place toddlers at the slide’s halfway point and have the adult standing next to the slide as the child makes it to the bottom. Remember to always inspect the landing area to ensure that is clear of debris, sharp objects and has padding. Lastly, we suggest that children should remove their shoes, especially if they have rubber soles, before riding down any slide. If you decide to take your child down a slide on your lap, make sure the child’s legs don’t touch the sides or sliding surface.
Since most adults are unaware of the danger of sliding board injuries, we hope that Florida schools and parks will consider posting warning signs. We are devoted to the safety of Florida’s children and do not want to see another child’s leg broken in a preventable accident.