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The Slip N Slide® was first manufactured in 1961 by a company called Wham-O. It is a long and thin sheet of smooth plastic that has a heat sealed tubular fold on one side of it. The tube contains several small holes that water sprays out of when a garden hose is attached. The water makes the plastic slippery, allowing kids to slide the full length of the sheet when they run and dive on to it. The Slip N Slide® comes in many styles and designs.
Wave Rider® and Splash Factor™ are two versions of the basic, single-person Slip N Slide®. These slides have an inflatable bumper at the end to stop the user from sliding into the grass. The Splash Factor™ has a sprinkler setup in the inflatable bumper that forms a small pool of water for the user to slide into. Both of these slip and slides are 18 feet (5.4m) long.
The Double Auto Racer and Double Wave Rider® are two person Slip N Slides®. Two users run and dive at the same time in a competition to make it to the end of the plastic first. These versions of the Slip N Slide® are 16 feet (4.8m) long and have a solid line separating the two lanes. Like the other versions, they have an inflatable bumper with a shallow splash pool at the end.
Bounce 'N Splash Slip N Slides® have a padded runway the user can bounce on to when he dives. After sliding the length of the padded plastic he splashes into a large pool of water. The padded runway makes for a more comfortable ride for younger children. This version of the Slip N Slide® is 17 feet (5.1m) long.
For extra competitive kids, the Triple Racer™ is an adrenaline rush. It has three lanes, allowing three users to run and dive in a race to the finish. The plastic is separated into three wide lanes with an inflatable bumper and splash pool at the end. It is 18 feet (5.4m) long.
There are several other versions of the Slip N Slide® available. The Mega Shark, Spiral Splasher, Junior Elephant Bounce N Splash and Splash Tunnel™ are all fun for kids. None of them, however, are meant for children under five years or over twelve years of age.
Although the Slip N Slide® provides long days of summertime fun, it can also cause severe injuries if used improperly. It is designed for children ages five to twelve only. Due to their weight, older children and adults have been known to suffer from neck injuries and fractures, quadriplegia, and paraplegia. This is because they may suddenly stop after running and jumping on to the plastic. Never use these plastic slides near hills, cliffs, streets or concrete, as there is a risk of injury or death.
I wasn't a huge fan of Slip N Slide when it first came out. I couldn't figure out how to time the dive so I was skimming over the top of the plastic. I'd just land really hard and go nowhere. Trying to stand up was even worse. I landed on my butt and lower back more times than I care to remember.
I had a Slip N Slide when I was a kid, but to tell you the truth I never had the sort of experience they showed in the commercials. Maybe it was because we had really low water pressure, but the plastic sheet always had a few dry spots along the way. I would get some good speed and take a dive at the top of the Slip N Slide, but I wouldn't slide more than a few feet.
I went to a friend's house and his Slip N Slide worked a whole lot better. He had good water pressure and he set the sheet on a downhill slope. I could slide from beginning to end on that one.