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Beware the dangers of "co-sliding" with your kids

"Co-sliding" isn't a term you hear often, but it's something that happens all the time, every day, at parks and playgrounds across America. You can easily picture the scene: A wide-eyed toddler standing atop a slide that suddenly seems much taller than the little guy (or girl) realized. Mom or dad climbs up and offers to take the kiddo down in their lap - "wheeeeeeeeeeee!"

What could go wrong?

You might think this approach is safer than letting the toddler tumble down alone. However, as a recent news story vividly illustrates, co-sliding can have horrific consequences.

The story involves a well-meaning mom who went down a slide at a neighborhood park with her one-year-old in her lap. Partway down, the toddler's foot got caught against the slide. Yet gravity kept pulling them both down, wrenching the little girl's leg backward. The result: a broken fibula and tibia.

How often it happens

It might seem like a fluke, but co-sliding accidents happen more often than you'd think. On average, nearly 30,000 children suffer similar injuries every year, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most end up with broken bones in the feet and legs.

If you've never heard about the danger of co-sliding, you're not alone. Few parents are aware of it - until they end up in the ER with a screaming toddler and a hefty sense of guilt.

You don't have to forgo co-sliding entirely, say some experts, so long as you keep the child's legs firmly held at the center of your lap. But even then, there's a chance their foot could get stuck underneath you. To stay on the safe side, stand next to the slide and hold your toddler's hand as they go down, and keep them away from playground equipment that's meant for big kids.

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