Sledding can be such a fun activity during the winter months. Although, sledding can seem like harmless fun, it can cause serious injuries even death. Children should always sled with an adult present. Follow these safety tips to remain safe while sledding:
Using Safety Gear and Dressing appropriately
- Children should wear helmets to protect them from deadly or debilitating injuries. Helmets designed for winter sports work best, but if you don't have one, make sure they at least wear a bike helmet or something similar.
- Be sure to wear warm clothing. Wear a hat, gloves or mittens, snow pants, winter jacket, and snow boots. Don't wear a scarf, though, as it can get caught in a sled.1
- Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Have children come inside periodically to warm up.
Finding a Safe Spot
- Do not sled on or around frozen lakes, streams, or ponds.
- Avoid sledding on hills that end near a street or parking lot.
- Avoid sledding at night and in crowded areas.
- Pick a location clear of pedestrians, vehicles and other hazards in the sledding path. Be sure the end of the path is also clear.
- Use steerable sleds, not snow disks or inner tubes.2
- Sleds should be structurally sound and free of sharp edges and splinters, and the steering mechanism should be well lubricated.2
- Everyone should sit face-forward on their sleds with their feet downhill. Never go down the hill face-first because this can lead to a serious head injury.
- Be sure to never stand on a sled.
- Children should only sled one at time to avoid a potential injury.
- Never pull a sled with a motorized vehicle. Pulling sleds on public streets or parking lots results in serious injuries and death every year. Items towed behind motorized vehicles have no breaking power. Parked cars, curbs, trees, telephone poles and even hard snow and ice can kill you.
- Take turns sledding. Don’t start sledding if someone else is in the pathway.
Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Set a reminder to have your children come in the house periodically to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Taking these precautions can create a safer sledding environment for everyone and will hopefully give parents a piece of mind.