Online article about climbing playground slides sparks debate on parenting

Should you allow your child to climb up the slide at a playground?

Playground slides can be dangerous when it comes to young kids.

Between 2002 and 2015, more than 350,000 kids under six were hurt while going down slides with an adult, according to American Academy of Pediatrics.

So, if some parents have trouble keeping their kids safe while holding them on a slide, why would they ever let them climb up the slide all on their own?

It’s sparked a debate online, after one parent encouraged others to let them. An article on 30seconds.com, now with more than 7,000 "likes," is gaining more and more attention.

Stay-at-home dad of two, Mike Prochaska, posted the article explaining seven reasons why parents should allow their kids to climb up the slide at the playground. 

Prochaska says it strengthens their arms and legs, promotes risky play, involves conflict and teaches children about failure. He says it encourages creativity, cooperation and success.

He goes on to say it gives them a chance to learn to trust their own abilities, while showing them you trust them to try.

Immediately, other parents chimed in.

Elisa All Schmitz thinks his take on this is awesome, but not everyone agrees.

Dennis Smiddle weighed in saying he's not opposed to risk-taking, but parents should know there are about 200,000 emergency room injuries from public playgrounds each year.

A couple of Valley parents we talked to seemed to side with the blogger.

“I think I would let her do it,” Alexis Austin said, speaking about her daughter. “I mean she’s super cautious as it is, but I think if she wanted to explore and try something new, I’d be all for it and I would just kind of watch her do it.” 

“I would prefer her to climb on the equipment that is intended to climb on,” said Glenna Gattle. “But I don’t think I would make a big deal if she was climbing on the slide.”

"Whenever you're using equipment in a way it's not intended, it increases the risk of injury," said Dr. David Lersch of Pediatric Associates.

He says while it may teach kids to use their muscles and be problem solvers, it could also interfere with other children enjoying the playground or even lead to injuries. 

"You should be using playground equipment as well as other athletic equipment in the way it's intended,” said Dr. Lersch. “When children ride bikes, they should wear helmets, when they skateboard, they should wear helmets and shin guards."

And above all, he says parents need to supervise their kids on the playground at all times.

"If it's not visible from the outside, this can be a dangerous activity," he said. “Make sure no child is going to slide down, while the other child is trying to climb up."

Dr. Lersch says it's also important for parents to make sure their child's skill level is appropriate for the activity they're doing. 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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