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Snow Days Prompt Sledding Precautions, Safety

SOUTHWEST Mo. – With winter finally here, and the weather apt to prove it, snow days and sledding are the first few thoughts for most kids… and adults.
SOUTHWEST Mo. – With winter finally here, and the weather apt to prove it, snow days and sledding are the first few thoughts for most kids… and adults.

Sledding can be a great way to spend time outside with friends and family, but every year thousands of people are injured sledding down hills in parks, streets and more. Most of these injuries are preventable.

Researchers analyzed data for 1997-2007 from the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. They found an estimated 229,023 injuries serious enough for ER treatment in that time period among children under 19.

Here are some sledding tips and precautions from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:


Do Not Sled on Public Streets

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.




Essential Precautions

  • Sledding should be done only in designated and approved areas where there are no trees, posts, fences or other obstacles in the sledding path. The sledding run must not end in a street, drop off, parking lot, pond or other hazard.
  • Parents or adults must supervise children in sledding areas to make sure the sledding path is safe and there are not too many sledders on the hill at the same time or at the end of the run to avoid collisions.
  • No one should sled headfirst. All participants should sit in a forward-facing position, steering with their feet or a rope tied to the steering handles of the sled.
Preferred Precautions
  • Young children should wear a fitted helmet while sledding.
  • The sled should have runners and a steering mechanism, which is safer than toboggans or snow disks.
  • Sledding in the evening should only be done in well-lighted areas.
  • Plastic sheets or other materials that can be pierced by objects on the ground should not be used for sledding.
  • Sledders should wear layers of clothing for protection from injuries and cold.
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