Kayla Campbell is speaking out in the hopes of preventing other kids from getting hurt on slides.
The Salem, Virginia-based mother of two and her husband Matthew took their children — Emelyn, 14 months, and Joseph, 6 — to Longwood Park on July 13, where things took an unexpected turn after Matthew and Emelyn rode down a slide together (the tot’s “favorite thing to do,” according to her mom).
A video Campbell shared to Facebook shows the exact moment the little girl’s injury occurs, about halfway down the slide when her left foot becomes snared between the side of the structure and Matthew’s leg. A popping sound can be heard right before she begins to cry out.
“PSA: Be careful going down slides with little ones on your lap!” Campbell captioned a Facebook post including the video and photos of Emelyn’s X-ray, initial wrappings and subsequent hot-pink cast.
“Tonight, she had on some cheap rubber shoes I’d picked up from Walmart that resemble Crocs because they’re all she’ll keep on her little feet,” she explains. “As they went down the slide, the shoes gripped the side and her foot got caught between her dad’s leg and the plastic edge.”
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Campbell revealed that Emelyn’s accident “resulted ultimately in a spiral fracture all the way through her tibia” and that she initially was in a splint before getting her cast, which she is expected to have to wear for a little over four weeks total.
“She’ll be okay after a few months, but I wanted to give everyone a little heads up,” Campbell added in her post, sharing that her daughter was already crawling around a little a few days after the incident. “Maybe we can help prevent another precious baby from going through this
“And just an FYI: I’m not blaming the shoes. I’m not blaming the slide. I’m not blaming anyone or anything for this accident because it’s just that: an ACCIDENT. There’s a chance this would have still happened with different/no shoes. The ER just mentioned that the rubber caused more friction than most other shoes because of their grip, hence my encouragement to use extra caution if your child wears them,” she concludes.
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Speaking to local news outlet WDJB7, Campbell said, “No way it’s safe for a 1-year-old to go down the slide by themselves. So you think, ‘Okay, it’s safer for them to go down in my lap.’ And that’s really not the case.”
According to a 2017 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 350,000 children who were less than 6 years of age were injured on slides in the United States from 2002 to 2015. Of the injuries that were reported, toddlers aged 12 to 23 months had the highest percentage of injuries, many being fractures of the leg.
“And none of my other mom friends had any idea this was a possibility,” Campbell added to WDJB7. “If I can help someone else not go through this, this just freak accident.”
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The incident echoes that of Heather Clare, a mother of three who took her 1-year-old twins to a park in Huntington, New York, in 2015, where daughter Meadow suffered multiple fractures to her leg when they rode down a slide together. (The little girl has since made a full recovery.)
As the now-viral picture posted by Clare to her Facebook account last month shows, Meadow’s right leg became trapped between her mom’s leg and the slide, twisting it in the opposite direction. The photo, taken just before the injury, showed Clare and Meadow smiling, unaware of what was about to happen.
“When we got down to the bottom of the slide, she was crying bad,” Clare told PEOPLE of the injury, which occurred just three days after Meadow took her first steps. “It was terrible, especially feeling like I put her in that position. It was completely avoidable.”
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