5 Rules for Safe Sledding

altThe Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that over 33,000 tobogganing and snow disc injuries occurred between 2004 and 2007. The most susceptible age group? Children aged five to nine.

So how can we allow our children to enjoy these winter activities, while at the same time do our best to keep them safe?Following these 5 simple rules for safe sledding can help to keep your little ones out of harms way?.

Rule #1

Choose a safe place to sled. Choose a wide open, gently sloping hill that has a level runoff at the end. Do not allow sledding on hills that are close to streets, ponds or lakes. Be sure hills are free from debris, large trees, telephone poles or other obstructions.

Rule #2

Use the right equipment. Be sure that sleds are in good condition and that children are dressed warmly enough for sledding.  Opt for sleds that are easy to steer and control. Don’t allow the use of cardboard or plastic lunch trays as substitutes for sleds.

Rule #3

Only allow children to sled feet first while sitting up. Sledding head first can increase the risk of head injury.

Rule #4

Insist children wear helmets while sledding. Choosing a well fitting helmet designed for winter sports can help prevent head injuries.  A bike helmet can also be used if you don’t have a winter sports helmet.

Rule #5

According to KidsHealth.org, children ages 5 and under should only sled with an adult. Choose a sled that both adult and child can fit on and that can be easily steered and stopped by an adult.

While chances are, your children will have a safe sledding experience, the risks of injury are real. Taking steps to minimize injury is always a safe bet and can help to ensure that your children’s sledding experience is fun and safe.