Overprotective parents could make playtime MORE dangerous for their children
17:46 GMT, 30 April 2012
Overprotective measures from parents make playground accidents more likely to take place, a study has found.
A study conducted by Mineola, New York's Winthrop University Hospital found that each injury reported through the use of a slide occurs after a child rides on the lap of a parent.
Dr John T. Gaffney, a chief of pediatric
orthopedic surgery who was behind the research, said that parents are
understandably shocked to discover they played a part in injuring their
Smothering: Overprotective parents, particularly those who make their children sit on their lap while riding a slide, have been found to do more harm than good
He said: 'The parents were very
frustrated and upset to learn that they had inadvertently contributed to
their child's fracture when they thought they were helping.'
The original 2009 study was conducted
after research by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that
there was an increase in reported playground injuries between 1999 and
An estimated 205,000 children were found
to be injured on playground equipment during 1999. It was less than the
220,000 children who were taken to the emergency room after
experiencing playground injuries in 2008.
The most common playground injuries
found by the CPSC were fractures, bruises, cuts and sprains, which made
up 85per cent of all emergency room visits.
'Parents were very frustrated and upset
to learn that they had inadvertently contributed to their child's
The study also stated that 14per cent of those injuries caused to the lower leg bones occur on a slide.
It also found that no records of injuries sustained by children who sat alone on a slide.
The ineffective safety procedure still exists in the playground today according to Mark A. Reinecke, the chair of psychology and child development at Illinois' Northwestern University.
He told ABC: 'If [a] parent appears anxious or fearful, the child will attend to these cues and respond accordingly.'
The study bears parallels to 2011 research conducted by Norway's Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education, overprotective parents may prove detrimental to a child's natural development process.
Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology at the university, said that hazardous play allows a child to confront fears such as that of a high bar in a jungle gym or an extra-twisty slide.
She said that upon conquering the fear, a child is left with a sense of accomplishment and a new positive feeling that replaces the fear.
If a parent acts overprotectively towards their child, such as opting to ride down a slide with them, she said it may actually leave the youngster feeling anxious.
Mr Reinecke agreed.
He said: 'Playgrounds are, in many ways, a microcosm of a child's world. The lessons learned there reverberate through their lives.'