Slippery Slope: Take Care to Prevent Sledding Injuries
Most people can agree that kids on slippery saucers careening down an icy hill at upwards of 20 miles per hour can be dangerous. According to the Center on Injury Research at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, more than 20,000 kids younger than 19 are treated for sledding injuries on average each year. Injuries often occur when the sled hits a stationary object or the child falls off. That's why parents would be wise to purchase sleds that can be controlled with a steering mechanism and brakes.
If you are planning on taking the kids to the local hill, don't just drop them off, especially if they're under age 10. Stick around while they sled, make sure all sledders wear a helmet – sledding injuries often include skull fractures – and be sure to share these important guidelines with them so they can enjoy tobogganing and sledding safely.
● Make sure all equipment is in good condition, free of sharp edges and cracks
● Sled on spacious, gently sloping hills with a level run-off at the end so the sled can safely stop
● Check slopes for bare spots, holes and obstructions, such as fences, rocks, poles or trees
● Do not sled on or around frozen lakes, streams or ponds
● Riders should sit or lay on their back on top of the sled with feet pointing downhill; never sled head first
● Dress warmly, and wear thick gloves or mittens and heavy boots to protect against frostbite and injury