Mom's frightening photo of daughter's injury highlights hidden playground danger

Heather Clare figured there was no harm in putting her 1-year-old daughter in her lap and taking her down a slide during a family outing at a local park.

Clare learned a hard lesson she is now passing on to other parents when her daughter Meadow's right foot caught the side of the slide, snapping her tibia and fibia.

The mother of three has posted a photo of the alarming moment on Facebook to alert parents to the potential danger of riding with a child down a slide.

(Warning: Some may find this image disturbing).

"I see parents riding down slides all the time with their kids,'' Clare said on TODAY Wednesday. "I don't think anybody - most parents aren't aware of this. Everybody really is shocked that that's a possibility and that that could happen."

Meadow is now 3 and has made a full recovery since that frightening day at Heckscher Park in Huntington, New York, in 2015. She spent four weeks in a pink cast following the injury.

Clare, 35, had taken Meadow's twin brother, Matthew, down the slide first that day before putting Meadow in her lap for a ride. Meadow started in the center of her mother's lap before sliding over and getting her foot caught.

"When I got to the bottom of the slide she was screaming,'' Clare said.

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20. New Jersey

Pedestrian Danger Index: 56.1

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 1,493 

Photo credit: Getty

19. Missouri

Pedestrian Danger Index: 60.2

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 726

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18. Michigan

Pedestrian Danger Index: 61

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 1,328

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17. California

Pedestrian Danger Index: 64.4

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 6,616

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16. Oklahoma

Pedestrian Danger Index: 76.1

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 523 

Photo credit: Getty

15. Maryland

Pedestrian Danger Index: 77.8

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 1,053

Photo credit: Getty

14. Arkansas

Pedestrian Danger Index: 80.6

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 404

Photo credit: Getty

13. Tennessee

Pedestrian Danger Index: 90.5

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 759

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12. Nevada

Pedestrian Danger Index: 91.2

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 529

Photo credit: Getty

11. North Carolina

Pedestrian Danger Index: 96.3

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 1,690

Photo credit: Getty

10. Georgia

Pedestrian Danger Index: 98.1

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 1,555

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9. Texas

Pedestrian Danger Index: 101.1

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 4,219

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8. Delaware

Pedestrian Danger Index: 102.6

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 207 

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7. South Carolina

Pedestrian Danger Index: 106.5

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 1,057

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6. Arizona

Pedestrian Danger Index: 108.5

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 1,424

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5. New Mexico

Pedestrian Danger Index: 112.8

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 516 

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4. Mississippi

Pedestrian Danger Index: 114.1

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 545

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3. Louisiana

Pedestrian Danger Index: 117.1

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 1,024

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2. Alabama

Pedestrian Danger Index: 136.6

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 724

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1. Florida

Pedestrian Danger Index: 177

Total Pedestrian Deaths: 5,142

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Clare learned from a doctor in the emergency room that Meadow's injury was much more common than she thought.

From 2002-15, there were 350,000 children under the age of five who were injured on slides, according to the Centers for Disease Control. More than a third of those injuries were lower leg fractures like the one suffered by Meadow.

"In the emergency room I see these injuries all the time, and the parents feel very very guilty and a lot of times they're crying, they're really upset about what happened to the child,'' NBC News medical correspondent Dr. John Torres said on TODAY. "And what I typically tell them is if you think back to your own childhood, how any of us got to this point of being adults is way beyond me because we all get injured in childhood. We tend to recover from those."

Some experts advise to tuck the child's legs between yours when going down a slide, but Clare believes there's no safe way for a child to ride in his or her parent's lap.

"The safest way for a child to go down a slide with their parent is not in the parent's lap,'' Torres said. "Instead, the parent wants to stand next to the slide, hold the child on there about halfway up, and let the child go down while you're guarding them."

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10. Kansas City, Missouri

Population: 465,514
Violent Crime Rate: 1,260 per 100,000 people
Murder Rate: 21 per 100,000 people
Population Below Poverty Line: 18.8%
Last Year's Rank: 12

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9. Newark, New Jersey

Population: 278,246
Violent Crime Rate: 1,264 per 100,000 people
Murder Rate: 40 per 100,000 people
Population Below Poverty Line: 28.0%
Last Year's Rank: 19

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8. Birmingham, Alabama

Population: 212,001
Violent Crime Rate: 1,345 per 100,000 people
Murder Rate: 30 per 100,000 people
Population Below Poverty Line: 28.9%
Last Year's Rank: 6

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7. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Population: 600,805
Violent Crime Rate: 1,364 per 100,000 people
Murder Rate: 17 per 100,000 people
Population Below Poverty Line: 28.3%
Last Year's Rank: 10

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6. Baltimore, Maryland

Population: 622,671
Violent Crime Rate: 1,401 per 100,000 people
Murder Rate: 37 per 100,000 people
Population Below Poverty Line: 23.4%
Last Year's Rank: 7

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5. Cleveland, Ohio

Population: 389,181
Violent Crime Rate: 1,478 per 100,000 people
Murder Rate: 14 per 100,000 people
Population Below Poverty Line: 34.2%
Last Year's Rank: 8

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4. St. Louis, Missouri

Population: 318,563
Violent Crime Rate: 1,594 per 100,000 people
Murder Rate: 38 per 100,000 people
Population Below Poverty Line: 27.0%
Last Year's Rank: 3

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3. Memphis, Tennessee

Population: 657,691
Violent Crime Rate: 1,656 per 100,000 people
Murder Rate: 19 per 100,000 people
Population Below Poverty Line: 26.2%
Last Year's Rank: 4

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2. Oakland, California

Population: 403,887
Violent Crime Rate: 1,977 per 100,000 people
Murder Rate: 22 per 100,000 people
Population Below Poverty Line: 20.3%
Last Year's Rank: 2

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1. Detroit, Michigan

Population: 699,889
Violent Crime Rate: 2,072 per 100,000
Murder Rate: 45 per 100,000
Population Below Poverty Line: 38.1%
Last Year's Rank: 1

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Clare advocates in her Facebook post for warning signs at playgrounds telling parents not to ride down slides with their children.

"If I can take what happened to Meadow and take the pain that she felt and the guilt that I felt, and we can use that as an impetus to create change, that's what's the most important thing to me,'' Clare said.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.

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