From picking out a sled to the hill itself — here’s how to avoid injury while sledding
Every year kids get bundled up and venture out into the snow too go sledding. And every year, 20,000 of those kids end up making an emergency room visit from the beloved winter activity.
One of the biggest contributing factors to sledding accidents is a lack of adult supervision. So, go out with your children and follows these tips to keep safe while sledding.
The first thing you’ll need for sledding is, of course, a sled. It is important to have an actual sled that is made for snow sledding. This means that substitutes such as cafeteria trays or car hoods are not suitable. While sledding disks and snow tubes are common, they are both difficult to control. Not only do they spin, but snow tubes can also eject the rider.
The ideal sled has some sort of steering mechanism, so it can be easily controlled. Along with a proper sled, it’s a good idea to get a helmet, as many of the sledding accidents which require ER visits are head injuries.
Once you have the proper equipment, it’s all about finding a hill. The run off at the bottom of the hill should be clear. It should not lead to a street, drop off or body of water.
As for the hill itself, it’s important to make sure there are no hazards, such as stumps or roots. Because stumps and roots can often be hard to detect when they’re covered by snow, consider investigating possible sledding hills before the snow hits this year.
Once you’ve found a good hill, it’s time to organize the chaos. Designate a sledding path and a walking path around it. Make sure children get out of the way quickly when they’re finished sledding, and that kids don’t sled while others are in the way.
Lastly, make sure that sledders are using proper technique. While kids may be tempted to run and jump headfirst onto a sled or go down the hill backwards, the best and safest way to sled is to sit straight up and face forward. Make sure riders know to roll off the sled if they can’t stop themselves, or are headed toward a hazard.