Girl, 4, breaks both legs on 'dangerous' slide as dozens injured

·News Reporter
·5-min read

A four-year-old girl has sustained horrific injuries at a NSW playground after a play on the slide left her with two broken legs.

India's worried mum Tisha Fleming is questioning the safety of Boongaree Nature Play Park at Berry, on the state's south coast, and has since found at least 30 other parents whose kids have suffered too.

Ms Fleming and her partner questioned the safety of the giant metal slide on their first visit to the park, noting it was "very steep and fast."

India broke both her legs going down the slide at the park. Source: Supplied/Tisha Fleming
India broke both her legs going down the slide at the park. Source: Supplied/Tisha Fleming

So on March 30, when India and her father visited the playground again, they tried it a little differently.

"My husband thought it was best for him to ride with her using his feet to slow them down. However that didn't work," Ms Fleming told Yahoo News Australia.

"She fell back and her feet hit the roof and hyperextended her legs. When they landed at the bottom of the slide she was in tears, instantly complaining of sore legs."

India broke her two tibias, the bone just below the kneecaps, and now has two casts from her toes up to her hip bones.

At first, India's dad thought it might have been her ankles, but realising the extent of her injuries, rushed her to Shoalhaven Hospital.

Dozens of injuries: Broken bones and facial fractures

It was there he learned that his daughter's injury "wasn't a one-off accident."

"All the medical staff kept telling him of other accidents and broken bones that were coming into the hospital because of the park," she said.

Despite only opening in January, there have been multiple reports of broken bones, facial fractures and skin burns. But despite this, Shoalhaven Council said "they "won’t be making any improvements," Ms Fleming claims.

Ms Fleming contacted Shoalhaven council the day after the incident to report the "dangerous" slide. But she hit a roadblock when seven days later they allegedly said "the park has been certified".

The park only opened in January and already has dozens of complaints, particularly over the dangerous slide. Supplied: Shoalhaven City Council
The park only opened in January and already has dozens of complaints, particularly over the dangerous slide. Supplied: Shoalhaven City Council

The concerned mum hoped support from other parents might help plead her case.

"From word of mouth I have heard there have been many similar accidents but after speaking with council they haven’t received the same feedback," she wrote on Facebook.

To her surprise, the post was met with hundreds of comments from equally concerned parents who admitted their child had been injured too.

Ms Fleming has noted two tail bone incidents, a facial fracture, five broken legs, a cracked head, two with burnt skin, a black eye, dislocated knee, two twisted ankles, two head injuries, knee to face, broken wrist and sprained knee - just from the slide alone.

"My 11yr old was injured on the same slide," one mother wrote.

"He is now under the care of Westmead Children's hospital awaiting surgery to fix a facial fracture and repair teeth that have been dislodged from their socket."

"'My daughter had an accident there, she put her shoes down to slow herself and flipped forward in the pipe hitting her head/face when she landed face first into slide," another added.

"My little boy also broke his tibia the exact same way," a third posted.

Some parents also detailed injuries from other parts of the park, including the Hamster Wheel and the rope bridge.

Council respond to growing concerns

Ms Fleming said a few of the parents contacted the council but apparently they never heard back.

"I think most of the parents didn't report it as they thought it was a one-off accident until they saw my post this week," Ms Fleming told Yahoo News Australia.

Ms Fleming is asking for Shoalhaven Council to "reassess the slide in question."

"Also provide some signage throughout the park about the dangers and risks of a nature park and also some guidance to age or height appropriateness," she said.

"I completely understand that it was an accident, however, I just want to make sure no other parent has to go through what we have 'if' there are improvements that can be made to ensure safety."

India is recovering well despite having two casts from her toes up to her hip bones. Source: Supplied/Tisha Fleming
India is recovering well despite having two casts from her toes up to her hip bones. Source: Supplied/Tisha Fleming

In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, a spokesperson for Shoalhaven Council said that it would assess the safety of the park facilities, however, stressed that equipment should be used with "responsible care."

"[The park] is intended to be used and enjoyed by visitors of all ages and abilities however, as with all playgrounds, Council strongly encourages visitors to use the park’s play equipment with reasonable care and for minors to be continuously and actively supervised by their parents or guardians," it read.

"The play equipment has been designed and certified as compliant with the relevant Australian Standards.

"Given the recent community concern, Council will be working with KidsSafe Australia to undertake an independent assessment of the facility."

Thankfully, India is "all good and recovering well," Ms Fleming said, although it was "really difficult for the first week."

"Her body was in shock and she began having night terrors," the worried mum revealed.

"But once the plaster casts were taken off and she swapped over to the fibreglass cast we were able to adapt a lot better."

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