4-year-old Australian breaks both legs on toboggan


A community is calling for the removal of a ‘potentially deadly’ slide that has caused more than 40 injuries to young children, including several broken bones.

A ‘furious’ parent is circulating a community petition after her three-year-old daughter broke her leg on the slide at Boongaree Nature Play Park in Berry.

Taylah Hall said she had been suspicious of the slide, but said that “since reading reports that the slide had been repaired and the council now deemed it safe, we trusted it”.

Her husband, Mitch Liddicoat, came down the slide with their young daughter and he said they were “thrown like a dryer”.

“It catapulted us from one side of the slide to the other and she broke her leg,” he said.

“The injury was specifically due to the design of the slide.”

Ms Hall said her daughter’s scream still haunts her and she was ‘furious’ that Harlow broke her leg on a slide designed for children.

“I know for a fact that if my husband wasn’t there with her, his injuries would have been a million times worse, even fatal,” she wrote in the Change.org petition.

Mr Liddicoat said Harlow’s broken leg showed how dangerous the slide was for children.

Father Mitch Liddicoat said he came down the slide with his young daughter and the two were “thrown like a clothes dryer”.
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“It could get to the point where a child falls in the wrong place and can’t go home to their family at all,” he told NCA Newswire.

The $4.6 million playground has only been open for eight months, but it has caused more than 40 serious injuries, including broken collarbones and head injuries.

A local said his young son was hospitalized after suffering a facial fracture and dislodged teeth while using the slide.

The South Coast Playground made headlines in April when a 4-year-old girl broke both legs while descending the slide. When her mother contacted the community, she found over 30 parents with children who had been injured at Boongaree.

Doctors at the local hospital told Mr Liddicoat they saw many injured children in the park every week. The same goes for the Wollongong Fracture Clinic, which told him it had a “steady flow” of young patients who were injured in the newly built playground.

After safety concerns were raised, Shoalhaven City Council engaged Kidafe NSW to conduct a compliance and performance assessment of Bongaree Play Park against Australian standards.

A spokesperson for Kidsafe NSW said the results of the assessment were sent directly to the council and were not made public. Mr Liddicoat said he believed the playground had been given the green light.

“Obviously if the slide is open it has been deemed safe for the public and children to use,” he said.

The petition to remove or modify the Berry playground slide has garnered more than 120 signatures in the four days it has been viable.

While Mr Liddicoat and Ms Hall have said they are not considering legal action against the council, he knows other families with injured children are looking to pursue legal avenues.

Shoalhaven Town Council said it had temporarily closed the slide for further examination after being made aware of the alleged injury.

“The slide has been certified to Australian standards and the Council has taken all reasonable steps to review and reaffirm this,” a statement read.

“The council has also installed additional signage to educate parents or guardians on the intended use of the slide.”

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