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Slip ’N Slide — and Sue?

The Slip ’N Slide toy by Wham-O has been a favorite backyard summertime distraction since its release in 1961. When used correctly, this plastic slide that can transform a backyard into a water park provides great entertainment for children. Unfortunately the toy is so much fun, many adults are not able to resist a belly-first run themselves.

Popular toy’s history of causing adult injuries

Between 1973 and 1991, eight personal injury lawsuits were filed against Wham-O for injuries related to Slip ’N Slide accidents. Seven adults and one teen suffered broken necks, bone fractures and paralysis.

In 1991, 34-year-old Bill Evans sued Wham-O after he became paralyzed following a Slip ’N Slide accident. The toy was then taken off the market. It was rereleased in 1997 with new safety features, including an inflatable bumper to stop the rider at the end of the slide.

In 2003, Wham-O, now privately owned, sued Paramount Pictures for using a scene showing a character going down a Slip ’N Slide on oil instead of water. This clip of David Spade on the Slip ’N Slide was also used to promote the film, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. Wham-O asked Paramount to cut the scene because it shows the actor using the toy incorrectly and in a manner that could cause injury.

Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines clearly warn that adults and teenagers should not use this toy. Wham-O’s guidelines for product use clearly state that the Slip ’N Slide is only intended for use under these conditions:

  • By children ages 5 to 12
  • By children who weigh under 110 pounds
  • When the slide has been properly inflated
  • When the slide is wet by a running hose
  • When the toy is used on grass, not pavement

 

The instructions for use also recommend that the user be wet prior to sliding as well. The Slip ’N Slide continues to be sold under a number of names and with a range of options. Even though the toy clearly poses a danger of injury for adults, many people over the age of 12 are still unable to resist playing on that wet yellow slide.

Backyard toy and pool injuries can be serious and can leave children and adults permanently disabled. If you or your child has been injured in an accident, speak to our personal injury attorney.

 

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