By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities family has a warning for parents about going down slides with their kids.

Erin Roche’s son, Peter, broke his tibia after a trip down a slide together.

He is just one of about 200,000 children treated for playground injuries every year.

The 20-month-old had been walking for months, but then reverted to crawling after the injury.

“I just had him on my lap and we went down and the slide had a little curve in it, and I felt like we went down a little bit funny,” Erin said.

(credit: CBS)

Erin and her husband, Jim, say Peter was uncomfortable afterwards, but his leg looked normal.

“We’ve done it lots of times,” Jim said. “It’s go down with Mom or Dad and you’d be safe.”

Dr. Stephen Sundberg, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, says he sees kids under 2 daily with fractures from slides.

“As the momentum of that adult pushing the child down the slide occurs, all it takes is a little catch of their shoe or sock,” Sundberg said.

The twisting injury to the leg is commonly called a “toddler’s fracture.”

“And that twist, their bones are flexible enough that they get a little crack in their bone, like taking a pencil and twisting it and breaking the pencil,” Sundberg said. “It’s not enough force to break your leg or my leg, but children, their bones are pretty soft so it happens quite easily.”

Peter had a cast for three weeks from his mid-thigh to his toes.

“He likes to keep up with his brothers and he couldn’t do that for a while,” Jim said.

And while the cast came off a week ago, doctors say it could take three months for the injury to fully heal.

He is still not putting much weight on his right leg.

“It was a big break and we were just surprised that going down the slide that could happen,” Erin said.

Dr. Sundberg says parents or caretakers do not have to stop taking toddlers down slides all together. If you do, make sure the child is cradled in your lap and their feet do not touch the metal or plastic of the slide.

Jennifer Mayerle