Parents of toddlers have been cooped up all winter, and heading to the neighborhood playground or even the backyard play structure will certainly be on the agenda. Most parents are concerned for their child’s safety on play equipment and even the most seasoned parent holds his breath the first time his toddler goes down the slide on his own.
It seems so high and fraught with risk and yet it’s actually safer to have your toddler go down the slide alone rather than have you sit behind her or hold him in your lap. Because slides are made for little bodies, adults don’t fit very well and as such if a toddler’s leg gets stuck under ours or between the adult and the side of the slide, it is liable to get snagged. More young children sustain fractured legs this way than going down alone. If the child’s leg gets hung up when she’s going down on her own, she’ll be much more able to dislodge it or her whole body will turn around in response. When there’s a big adult in the equation, the child’s body can’t adjust and the snagged leg is apt to be injured.
It’s a leap of faith to let your child go down a slide on his own but if he’s able to climb up the steps to get there on his own, he’s old enough to go down on his own too. Feel free to hold a hand or stand along side the slide as your ‘big boy’ heads down but restrain yourself from going down too. You don’t want a memory of an ER visit or a cast but rather the delighted smile of your child as he does is on his own.