Sledding with friends and family members has been a winter ritual for generations. Anywhere there's snow and a hillside, you can find people sledding. You probably went sledding as a kid, and you'll want to share this fun activity with your kids.
But sledding can also cause injuries, some of them pretty serious. To keep your kids safe while sledding, make sure they follow these safety tips.
Though it may seem like harmless fun, sledding injuries send tens of thousands of kids to hospital emergency rooms each year. More than half of all sledding injuries are head injuries, which can be very serious and even deadly. Statistics also show that sledders are more likely to be injured in collisions than skiers or snowboarders.
When hills get coated with snow, they may all look like great locations for sledding, but be very careful when choosing a location for your kids to sled. Not all hills are safe.
Here are a few guidelines to follow when it comes to picking the right spot to sled:
Since sledding involves playing in the snow outdoors during wintertime, chances are it's going to be cold. Frostbite and even hypothermia are potential dangers. Make sure your kids wear the proper clothing to stay warm and safe.
The best sleds can be steered by their riders and have brakes to slow them down. Avoid sleds that can't be steered, such as saucers or plastic toboggans, and never use a sled substitute like an inner tube, lunch tray, or cardboard box. Good sleds are relatively cheap to buy and are well worth the extra money.
Your kids have the right kind of sled and helmets, they're dressed warmly, and you've picked out a perfect hill for them to sled down. They're ready to go.
There are still a few rules they need to follow, though, to keep themselves and other sledders safe:
While it's unlikely that kids will be injured while sledding, the possibility definitely exists. Just take a little extra time to dress them properly and make sure they follow these safety guidelines. They'll have a better time, and you'll rest easier knowing you have less to worry about. Sledding is supposed to be fun; keep your kids safe and warm, and you'll ensure that it is!
Reviewed by: Kathleen B. O'Brien, MD
Date reviewed: February 2010
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