The Wham-O Company introduced Slip ‘n Slide in 1961, and though different models have jazzed it up over the years, the basic Slip ‘N Slide concept has remained the same.
Basically, it involves rigging a water hose up to a lengthy, thin sheet of thick plastic several feet long.
Once the sheet is wetted down, the water continues to run along it and transforms it into a slide.
This allows the kids using it to launch themselves down the slide and ride down it as the water propels them along. Presto, instant waterslide!
Slip ‘n Slide quickly caught on, helped in part by a nifty commercial that showed laughing, happy kids running and sliding across it.
As the Slip ‘n Slide moved into the 1970s and 1980s, it became an institution of summertime fun for kids everywhere.
If you drove around any neighbourhood with lawns during a hot summer day during this era, you could count on seeing at least one group of kids having fun with a Slip ‘n Slide.
Kids especially enjoyed the fact that once the Slip ‘n Slide’s hose had been on long enough, it would slick down the lawn and allow them to slide further across the now-drenched grass.
Of course, they would emerge coated in dirt and grass, but hey, that was part of the fun . . .
Between 1973 and 1991, Wham-O Corp. was sued eight times for devastating injuries Slip ‘n Slide users suffered, including broken necks, leg fractures, and paralysis. These lawsuits brought the danger of the product to public attention.
Although Slip ‘n Slide was intended for use by children weighing less than 40lbs, it was regularly being used by larger children and adults.
This, coupled with publicity from the litigation against Wham-O, led to admonishment by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that the slides were not to be used by teenagers or adults, and subject only to strict safety precautions.
Following the CPSC. action, the frequency of Slip ‘n Slide related injuries dropped dramatically and it returned to the market in a variety of designs. Some of the newer Slip ‘n Slides include the Tidal Wave and the Super Geyser.
These new models are inflatable, include ‘slide bars’ to help guide riders safely down the slide, and end in small pools that safely collect the riders when they finish their slide. They also use a new design that utilises hundreds of miniature jets to keep the Slip ‘n Slide as slick as possible at all times.
These new extras have helped Slip ‘n Slide return to their place of prominence in the world of summer fun, and it’s very likely that it will continue to provide fun to water-loving kids for many years to come.