According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately 20,000 children visit an emergency room each year as a result of a sledding accident. The types of injuries sustained include spinal fractures, rib fractures, internal organ injury and concussions. About one third have head injuries and approximately 800 require hospital admission.
The Injury Prevention Center at Rhode Island Hospital offers the following sledding safety tips:
- Parents should always inspect the sledding hill carefully. The hill should be smooth and not too steep. It should also be free of obstacles such as trees and rocks. It is very important that the hill have a long, clear run off at the end.
- Never sled toward a road or pond.
- Sleds that have some type of steering mechanism are safest. Never use a sled substitute, such as a cafeteria tray.
- Always slide feet first, one person at a time.
- Sledders should walk up the side of the hill and leave the middle open for other sledders.
- Children should dress appropriately and always wear a helmet.
Following these tips for a safe and fun time in the snow.