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Sledding Safety Tips
12/11/09

Check out the Facts
Before You Check out the Hill
Sledding and tobogganing are popular and enjoyable winter recreational activities.  Every year, thousands of people take to the hills for a sport the whole family can enjoy.  Unfortunately, sledding activities can lead to injuries and even result in death.  Hundreds of children visit emergency departments every year for injuries while sledding.  This winter, make sledding a SAFE, fun activity.

Sledding injuries occur as a result of:

  • Colliding with another sled or obstacle
  • Losing control of equipment
  • Falling off equipment while sledding

Who is at risk?
Although sledding injuries can and do occur in all age groups and to both genders, some age groups are at a higher risk.  The majority of sledding injuries occur to children between the ages of 5 and 14.  In this age group, 60 to 70 percent of the injuries occur in boys.

How can you protect your child from sledding injuries?
As a parent or caregiver you have one of the greatest influences on your children's behavior.  Educate yourself, your children and your community about sled safety and how to operate and maintain safe sledding areas.

Check out the view:

  • Choose hills with a gentle slop and long run-off area.
  • Choose snowy hills and avoid icy surfaces.
  • Be sure hill is free of holes and obstacles such as trees, signs, fences and rocks.
  • Stay away from roads, rivers, railways and parking lots.
  • Only sled in the daylight or on well-lit hills.

Check out your style:

  • Go down the hill sitting or kneeling up on the sled.
  • Never go down the hills head first or standing up.
  • Be sure the way is clear right down to the bottom.
  • Take your turn; do not go down right after another sledder.
  • On the way down, tuck in arms, legs and clothing such as scarves, drawstrings and long hats
  • If you fall off the sled or stop unexpectedly, quickly move out of the way of other sledders.

Check out your gear:

  • Dress properly with hats, mittens, and warm, waterproof clothing including footwear (avoid clothes with drawstrings).
  • Be sure the temperature is not too cold (take into consideration the wind chill factor when sledding).
  • Choose sturdy sleds with secure handholds; ensure there are no jagged edges, splinters or protruding parts.
  • Avoid sliding carpets, inner tubes, cardboard sliders, snow discs and other sledding equipment that is difficult to control.

Check out the Supervision:

  • Children under 12 should be supervised by a responsible adult.
  • Children under 5 should have a responsible adult on the sled with them.
  • Monitor children for wet clothes, chilling, frostbite or fatigue.
  • Mediate conflicts that may occur between sledders.
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