Snow covered hills often prompt visions of carefree days spent sledding. However, what should be harmless winter fun leads to more than 70,000 children each year needing medical treatment.
There are some steps that should be taken to help ensure that those trips down the hill don’t lead to a visit to the emergency room.
Know the Terrain. Before little ones hit the hills, scope out the sledding conditions. Beware of any rocks, trees or other obstacles along the route. Also, check for any issues such as roadways, parked cars or bodies of water at the foot of the hill and make sure that there is sufficient stopping distance for the sled.
Choose the Right Equipment. The sled your child uses should be sturdy and have good steering ability. Avoid sleds with sharp or jagged runners.
Head injuries account for many of the sledding related incidents each winter. In order to significantly decrease this risk, children should wear a ski or bike helmet.
Supervision.For young children, supervision is important. Parents should place young children between their legs when sledding.
Children who are old enough to sled solo should either have adult supervision or sled with friends. What is important is that a child not be left to sled by himself or herself.
By following a few basic safety rules, children can safely enjoy this classic winter pastime.