Follow These Sledding Safety Tips to Keep Kids Safe This Winter

Have fun sledding, but keep your kiddos safe with these tips.

By: Amanda Mushro

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Little boy sliding down the snow path on sled and laughing. Mother wisible in the background - she just gave him a push,

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Little boy sliding down the snow path on sled and laughing. Mother wisible in the background - she just gave him a push,

Photo by: Imgorthand

Imgorthand

If there’s snow in the forecast, there’s a good chance your kids are already planning all of the ways they will be playing in it. From building a snowman and making a few snow angels to the hot cocoa once you head inside, fresh powder on a winter day is the best part of winter. Also on the snowy day agenda: sledding.

A day of sledding should be fun, but sometimes it can lead to serious injuries. The good news is that in recent years, there has been a decrease in sledding-related injuries. Experts say it’s because parents are more aware of the dangers and they are taking steps to keep their kids safe all while having fun sledding.

Before you bundle up your kids and take them outside to go sledding, keep these safety tips in mind so everyone can have some fun in the snow and stay safe.

  • Make sure there is always an adult with the kids. No matter their age, kids should always be supervised while sledding.
  • It’s highly recommended by pediatricians that kids wear a bike helmet while sledding. Plus, it will keep their heads warm in the chilly weather.
  • Find a safe spot to sled with kids. Avoid hills that are too steep, near a road or parking lot, or have trees, fences, ponds, or other possible hazards.
  • Choose the best time to go sledding. Daytime is the safest because temperatures often drop at night and it can be harder to see any hazards or icy patches.
  • The best conditions for sledding are right after a heavy, wet snowfall. Check the temperatures and head out when it’s 30 degrees. Avoid sledding on really cold days because you are more likely to run into icy conditions.
  • Bundle up before you go. Layer kids up with a waterproof layer on the bottom. Not only will this keep them warm and dry, but it can also prevent hypothermia. Puffy winter coats and snow pants on top will keep them warm and help soften any hard landings. Don’t forget gloves and have warm dry clothes on hand for when the sledding is over.
  • When it’s time to go down the hill, everyone should sit face-forward on their sleds. It can be tempting to take a few rides face-first and on your belly. However, this can lead to a serious head injury. Also, kids should never stand on sleds when going down a hill.
  • Make sure kids understand sledding etiquette. If you are in a popular sledding area, let kids know they need to stay out of the way of other people who are sledding. When they get to the bottom of the hill, have them move to the side and head back up the hill away from other sledders. This can help avoid collisions with other kids.
  • Use a real sled. In a pinch, you may be tempted to make a sled out of something you have at home like a pool raft. However, studies show that kids are more likely to get hurt on items that aren’t sleds.
  • Teach kids how to bail instead of break. If their sled is going too fast and it feels like they are out of control, show kids how to roll off the sled instead of riding until they crash.
  • If you are concerned that your kids have been injured after a sledding crash or they have been in the cold for too long, take them to the ER, urgent care or to see their pediatrician and have them examined. Always better to be safe than sorry.

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