Sledding is a quintessential winter activity for young and old alike. I know my family enjoys our local sledding hills on a regular basis. But did you know that sledding accounts for over 20,000 injuries each year? (www.safekids.org) That is almost as much as skiing and snowboarding combined! (skiing and snowboarding account for just shy of 29,000 injuries annually) To keep your kids safe on the slopes this winter, follow these simple guidelines as suggested from the National Safe Kids organization.
- Make sure an adult is present with your kids.
- Avoid icy slopes
- Use designated hills that are free from obvious obstacles like trees, cars, streets, etc
- Check your sled for cracks or broken parts that could cause your child to lose control.
- Always head down the hill feet first.
- Go down the hill one person at a time and one person per sled.
- If the sled gets going too fast, teach your kids to roll off of it.
- This one might seem like a no-brainer, but Safe Kids reminds kids to never ride in a sled being towed by a car.
- Wear a helmet! I work at a children’s hospital and every year we see lots of traumatic brain injuries related to sledding crashes. There is no helmet designed specifically designed for sledding, but Safe Kids advises using either a bike helmet, skateboard helmet or ski helmet. I’d go with the ski helmet as it has better protection and provides some warmth too. These come in sizes to fit pretty tiny heads too.
My kids love jumps. They love designing them and constructing them as much as love going over them with their sleds. I don’t like jumps. I could tell you stories of kids with broken legs and arms, but I think you get my point! Small jumps are much better.
With some simple precautions and a good helmet, sledding is a great way to spend an afternoon outside with your kids. One more pointer: for the over 35 back end—the inflatable sleds are way more comfortable!