As parents, we all have those moments we wish we could take back so we could do something different. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye and can have consequences that are felt far longer.
That is what happened to one family who has chosen to speak out about their experience in an effort to educate and warn parents of an often-overlooked danger.
Kait Ellen, a mother of two, recently penned a powerful Facebook post that illustrates what can happen when a toddler plays on a trampoline.
The viral status update features the heartbreaking photo of her 3-year-old son in a cast from his ankles to his waist with a pained expression on his face. Ellen writes, “As hard as it is to relive the past 12 days, we feel compelled to make other parents aware of the danger associated with indoor trampoline parks.”
When I read this, my stomach fell to my feet. We had just taken our three boys (including our 2-year-old) to a trampoline park just one week prior.
The post goes on to say that Ellen’s son, Colton broke his femur – the strongest bone in the human body – while innocently jumping on a trampoline alongside his parents. Ellen later updates her post to explain that the couple was “NOT bouncing in the same square as Colton when the injury occurred,” adding that they were on one of the squares next to him. Nevertheless, all it took was an awkward fall on a trampoline for her son to break his bone.
“Come to find out,” Ellen writes, “according to the America Academy of Pediatrics and the America Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons ‘children under the age of 6 should never use a trampoline.’ This is due to the fact that their fragile bones are not meant to withstand the repetitive pressure from jumping.”
She goes on to explain that they ‘had no idea and were shocked to find this out’ from their pediatric orthopedic surgeon during Colton’s hospital stay. I was not aware of this either, and will no longer allow my toddler to jump on a trampoline.
Ellen writes that their lives have been “turned upside down since Colton’s accident.” Adding, “every day is a struggle for his sweet 3 year old self as he adjusts to life in a hip spica cast for the next 6 weeks.”
It is extremely difficult for a busy toddler to adjust to life in a cast, especially when six weeks feels like a lifetime to a child. When my son was 18 months old, he broke his leg in an accident that haunts me to this day.
I too, was unaware of a danger – the danger caused by riding down a slide with your child. I had seen many other parents do it and had no idea it was a risky action. It was a small slide, too, but when we reached the bottom, my son started screaming. I wasn’t sure what had happened. He was inconsolable, so I ran him to the emergency room. My husband met me there and we discovered that one of his legs had a small fracture. I remember having to leave the room at one point while my husband stayed by my son’s side as I sobbed in the waiting room. I felt so incredibly guilty. I only wish I had known never to go down a slide with a young child.
Knowledge is key, and Colton’s parents want to warn other parents of the dangers of trampoline play for toddlers.
“We share this with you today to spread awareness that these facilities are specifically advertising for Toddler Time, when in fact toddlers should be nowhere near trampolines.” Ellen writes. Adding, “We hope by sharing his story it will prevent a child and their family from experiencing the trauma and heartbreak associated with trampoline injuries in young children.”
I am grateful to these parents, and wish to add my own warning of the dangers of riding down a slide with a young child. While these actions may not always lead to injury, when they do, the results can be heartbreaking.