Going sledding is a beloved winter pastime. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that sledding can be quite hazardous and injuries are common. Continue to see our sledding safety tips and how hazards and injuries can be avoided.
Common Sledding Safety Hazards and Injuries
The most recurrent hazard with sledding is the cold, wet weather conditions. Prolonged exposure to cold can have serious consequences like frostbite and hypothermia. Plus, snow can fall into coats and sleeves, and melting to dampen clothing. Enough can leave clothes fully soaked. Since children can often be distracted they may not realize how cold or wet they are. This leads to extended exposure to these unsafe conditions.
Sledding injuries frequently occur when the sled hits a stationary object or a child falls off. While bruises and scrapes are common injuries, so are broken bones. And injuries can easily be sustained to the head and neck, especially for children younger than 7 years old.
Avoiding Common Hazards and Injuries
- First, parents must supervise sledding to make sure children are being safe.
- Make sure children are dressed warmly. Waterproof options are perfect for extended play in the snow.
- Avoid wearing scarves as they can get stuck in or under the sled.
- Have children 6 years and younger wear a helmet.
- Children sledding in steep or busy areas should also wear a helmet.
- Ensure children are sitting forward and their feet facing downhill. Do not go down face first.
- Consider buying a sled that had steering and braking options.
- Do not let children stand on their sled.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for the number of passengers in the sled.
- Children should sled down one at a time or have ample distance between them.
- Find a sledding path free from trees, poles, and other obstacles.
- Choose a location that has a long flat area that will slow the sled down.
- Make sure sledding is taking place away from roads and parking lots.
- It’s best to sled during the day but when sledding at night make sure the area is well-lit.
- Remind children, that if they need to abandon the sled to roll off as safely as they can.
- Don’t allow sleds to be pulled by a car, ATV, or other motorized vehicles.
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Sources: Nemours, Nationwide Children’s