As you gear up to go sledding this winter, be cautious. According to the Mayo Clinic, about 25,000 children go to the emergency room each year for sledding-related injuries. Help keep your kids safe with these tips:
Choose a safe sled
Look for the following:
- A steering mechanism and brakes.
- No sharp edges, cracks or missing parts.
- A true sled, not substitutes like lunch trays, cardboard boxes or garbage can lids.
Help keep your kids safe and warm with:
- Multiple layers of wind- and water-resistant clothing.
- Helmets, which can greatly reduce the chance of head injuries.
- No clothing with drawstrings or scarves, which can risk strangulation. If you feel a scarf is essential, tuck the ends tightly into a coat, or opt for a neck gaiter or mask that covers the face and neck.
Find a safe sledding hill
Look for a spot:
- Away from busy roads.
- With a long, flat area at the bottom for stopping.
- Free from hazards and obstacles, such as trees, fences, ponds, rocks, poles and bare spots.
- Covered in snow, not ice — icy slopes make it hard to steer or stop safely.
According to the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, 71% of all sledding injuries occur without adult supervision.
Keep an eye on all kids younger than 12 and hop on the sled with any kids younger than 5.
Sled with caution
Teach your kids these sledding safety tips:
- Always sled sitting up and facing forward — never headfirst, facing backward or standing.
- Go down the hill one at a time to avoid collisions.
- Never ride a sled being pulled by a moving vehicle.
- Keep arms and legs inside the sled at all times.
- Walk up the side of the hill.
- Don't cut off or run into others.