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Tibia Fractures in Children Sustained on a Playground Slide

Gaffney, John T. DO

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics: September 2009 - Volume 29 - Issue 6 - p 606-608
doi: 10.1097/BPO.0b013e3181b2ba2f

Background The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between children who sustain tibia fractures on a playground slide and the mechanism of injury.

Methods This retrospective review included the chart and radiographs of all children diagnosed with a tibia fracture, over an 11-month period. All patients were originally seen in either the emergency room of a level 1 trauma center or the treating physician's office.

Results During the period of study, 58 fractures of the tibia were found. Eight (13.8%) of the tibia fractures were sustained while playing on a playground slide. The 8 fractures identified are the focus of this study. The tibia fractures were nondisplaced, diaphyseal, with an intact fibula. There were 5 female and 6 male children included in the study. The age range of the patients with a tibia fracture sustained while going down a slide was 14 months to 32 months; the average age of the 8 children in this study was 20.6 months. The average age of boys sustaining a tibia fracture on a playground slide was found to be 20.7 months and the average age of girls was found to be 20.6 months. All tibia fractures associated with playing on a slide were sustained while going down the slide on the lap of an adult. None of the 8 children studied went down the slide alone.

Conclusions Children at risk for tibia fractures sustained while going down a playground slide, on the lap of an adult, were found to be less than 32 months of age. Many parents believe they are increasing the safety of their young child by placing the child on their lap while going down a playground slide. Parents should be educated not to go down a slide with a child on their lap. If the child is unable to use the slide independently, another activity would be more appropriate.

Level of Evidence Therapeutic study, level IV.

Winthrop University Hospital, State University of New York, Stony Brook University, NY

None of the authors received financial support for this study.

Reprints: John T. Gaffney, DO, Winthrop Orthopaedic Associates, 1300 Franklin Avenue, Suite UL 3B, Garden City, NY 11530. E-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.