Scott Hollifield: Wheeee! New research says we've been terrible parents
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Some parents accompany their small children down the playground slide a couple of times to show their little ones the trip from the top to the bottom – and maybe even life itself – isn’t always as scary as it seems. We see them as nurturing caregivers hoping to instill confidence and independence at an early age, right?

Not anymore. They are child-crushing monsters who must be stopped at all costs. Perhaps that’s a tad harsh, but new research reveals some of us have been terrible parents.

“Going down a slide on a parent's lap can lead to a broken leg for small children,” reads a Sept. 15 news release from the American Academy of Pediatrics. “An estimated 352,698 children less than 6 years of age were injured on slides in the United States from 2002 through 2015, and many of those injuries were leg fractures.”

The research was presented at the 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition, where this year’s theme was, I believe, “Stop it! You’re Going to Put Your Eye Out.” (Note: It turns out that was not the theme.)

“Many parents and caregivers go down a slide with a young child on their lap without giving it a second thought," lead researcher Dr. Charles Jennissen said in the news release. "And in most cases I have seen, the parents had no idea that doing so could possibly give their child such a significant injury. They often say they would never have done it had they known.”

As the parent of record of at least one child and the third most popular columnist for this award-winning publication, I believe it is my duty to present the following public service announcement to help end the scourge of parent-child playground slide tragedies.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Hello, my name is Scott. You may remember me from previous slightly humorous columns about monkeys or something stupid I did. Today, though, I am here to address a more serious topic – parent-child playground slide injuries.

Though nearly 20 years have passed, it seems like only yesterday I was at the playground as parent for the irst time with my fair-haired little girl.

“Daddy, will you go down the slide with me?” she said. “I’m scared.”

“Why, there is nothing to be scared of,” I would have said if I had been paying attention to her.

“Daddy! Will you go down the slide with me?” she yelled a second time.

And because I believed in my heart I was a nurturing caregiver hoping to instill confidence and independence at an early age and perhaps prevent a screaming public hissy fit, I did just that.

Wheeee!

We made it safely from the top to the bottom. Unfortunately, an estimated 352,698 young children between the years 2002 and 2015 did not. They were hurt and, worst of all, became medical conference fodder.

I now know the error of my ways. At that “Wheeee!” moment, I was a terrible parent, according to researchers. But what can good parents unlike me say when a child asks, “Daddy, will you go down the slide with me?”

I suggest, “I would, honey, but there is apparently a 98 percent chance I’ll snap your leg like a twig and we’ll end up as a statistic in a presentation at the next American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition and neither of us wants that. Plus, our co-pay on an emergency room visit is higher than a Georgia pine. Just go play in the sand. Or, if you want, I will stand at the bottom of the slide and catch you, but hurry up because Timmy’s mom is going over to the splash pad and I do not want to miss that.”

Fellow parents, don’t make the same mistake I did, which had no negative consequences whatsoever.

Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, N.C. and a humor columnist. Contact him at rhollifield@mcdowellnews.com

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