It’s something I’ve done time and time again: ridden down a slide with a baby or toddler in my lap.

I’ve never once questioned the safety in doing so. In fact, in my mind, riding with them snugly in my lap, my arms wrapped tightly around them was probably the safest way my kids could possibly ride down a slide. . . right?

Imagine my surprise (and my cringe, and my guilt, and my gratitude to my kids’ guardian angels) upon seeing this viral Facebook post written by mother of three Heather Clare, that shows the dangers of exactly what I had been doing in an effort to protect my children.

(Warning—You may find this photo disturbing)

The photo in Heather’s post shows her going down a slide with her then one-year-old daughter, Meadow, riding in her lap. The image also happens to capture the exact moment Meadow’s foot became trapped in between Heather and the side of the slide, instantly breaking the child’s leg.

It turns out that this isn’t an isolated incident. A quick Google search will yield story after story of similar injuries resulting. In her post, Heather goes on to warn that parents going down a slide with a baby in their lap is, “one of the top three reasons young children are seen in the ER during the spring and summer,” and shares the doctor’s lecture about just how common this type of injury is.

And I, for one, never would have guessed.

Heather shares her story, “in hopes that the pain Meadow felt and the guilt that I still feel will save other babies and parents from the same.”

On behalf of parents everywhere, thank you, Heather, for being brave enough to share such a difficult story with the rest of the world. It’s parents like you who are willing to share the hard who teach the rest of us so much, and who help to keep our babies safe.

Photo credit: Heather Clare

Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the beauty and chaos of life through the lenses of motherhood, marriage, and mental health. To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward