Sledding Can be Fun and Safe
Sledding Injuries hurt. The speedy, bumpy, sometimes scary slide downhill is one of the outdoor winter activities that youths and adults have always enjoyed. It can be fun, but every year thousands of youths and adults are injured sledding down hills in city parks, streets and resort areas. Most of these injuries are preventable.
Incidence of Sledding Injuries
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 160,000 sledding, snow tubing, and Sledding Injuries treated at hospital emergency rooms, doctors’ offices and clinics in 2007. The total medical, legal and liability, pain and suffering, and work loss-related costs were more than $4 billion.
The majority of injuries happen to youths age 14 and younger, especially in the run outs at the end of the sledding path. Adult supervision is needed to make sure that children sledding down a hill don’t collide with children in the run outs and that the end of the sledding path isn’t in a street or parking lot, pond or other hazardous area.
- Some of the Sledding Injuries can be serious enough to cause lifelong disability or death. When a sled hits a fixed object such as a tree, rock or fence, the rider may suffer head and neck injuries. Helmets help prevent head injuries and should be worn by sledders under 12 years old.
- Young children are very vulnerable to Sledding Injuries. They have proportionally larger heads and higher centers of gravity than older children and teens. Their coordination has not fully developed and they can have difficulty avoiding falls and obstacles.
- Do Not Sled on Public Street. The first big snowfall of the winter season often tempts youths to sled down sloping streets where they may be hit by cars and trucks or slam into parked vehicles, curbs, and fences.
- Speeding down hills in parks that are not designed for sledding is risky. Individuals may have to dodge trees and rocks.
- Sit in a Forward-Facing Position. Some youths may run with their sleds and leap forward in a “belly flop” that does not give them control of where they are sliding.
- Do not sled on plastic sheets. They cannot be steered and can be pierced by sharp objects.