Sledding May Be More Of A Risk For Your Children Than You Think

Sledding May Be More Of A Risk For Your Children Than You Think


Sledding May Be More Of A Risk For Your Children Than You Think


Sledding is easily one of the most accessible winter activities. You just need some winter clothing, a hill, and something to slide on, which you can often get at your local department store for around $20. That, of course, makes it one of the best activities for parents to do with their kids on a snow day or winter weekend day. Unfortunately, though, it may be significantly more dangerous than most people think.

According to Local 4, a poll conducted through the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital revealed that two in three parents say their child doesn’t wear a helmet when sledding. The poll, which was based on responses from 1,992 parents, also showed that safety rules are less likely to be reviewed with children while sledding than while participating in other winter sports, like skiing and snowboarding.

“Because sledding is so common, parents may overlook important safety concerns. However, to avoid injuries, parents should ensure the sledding area is free of trees or other objects and has a flat runoff area at the bottom of the hill. Parents should also make sure children understand strategies to avoid collisions with other sledders.” – Mott Poll co-director Sarah Clark

Sledding is assumed to be much safer than other winter sports, but, still, more than 220,000 patients were treated in emergency rooms across the United States for sledding related injuries between 2008-2017. On top of those concerns, a majority of parents who responded to the poll said they were much more likely to leave their kid unsupervised while sledding than while participating in other winter sports.

In order to keep children safe while sledding, Motts Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Unit recommends following the safety guidelines below:

  • “Thoroughly check your surroundings to make sure the sledding hill is free of collision risks, such as light posts, trees or rocks.
  • Parents should not allow children to sled where the hill ends in a street, parking lot, pond or fence or without adequate runoff space that allows the child to slow down and get off the sled.
  • For younger children, parents should both describe and demonstrate the process for getting up the hill, ways to avoid collisions and for quickly moving to the side once they are at the bottom of the hill. They should also talk about what do in the event of a fall.
  • Children should never ride a sled that is being pulled by a motorized vehicle, including all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, tractors and dirt bikes.
  • Choose sledding hills that are snowy rather than icy, which can cause sleds to spin out or overturn. The steepness of the hill should also be appropriate for the child’s age and experience.
  • Sled during the daytime or in well-lit areas at night so hazards are visible.
  • Children should wear a fitted winter sport helmet or at least wear a bike helmet. Remember, sledding is often just as fast as or faster than riding a bike. Make sure heads are protected.
  • Kids shouldn’t race each other or lie on top of each other or parents while sledding.
  • Avoid scarves, accessories or loose clothing that could get caught in a sled or pose choking hazards.
  • Always supervise younger children.
  • Older children allowed to go sledding, skiing or snowboarding with other children should have a cell phone and one of the parents should be available to respond in case of an injury.
  • For downhill skiing or snowboarding, parents may consider enlisting the help of ski facility personnel to ensure their child’s helmet, boots and other equipment are the correct size and worn correctly.”

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