Sled riding is an outdoor, winter activity that kids- and even adults- have enjoyed for centuries. Unfortunately, as with any sport, sled riding has its risk of injuries. In fact, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 23,000 people are treated for sled riding injuries at emergency rooms annually. Sometimes the injuries are minor. Sometimes they are severe. Read this informative article and learn some tips on how to keep kids safe when they’re sled riding!
Tip #1- Dress Right for Winter Sled Riding Fun
Wearing layers of clothing instead of bulky items will not only keep kids warmer, but it will allow more freedom of movement. Being able to move better will help keep kids safer while they’re sled riding. They shouldn’t forget to wear a warm hat, boots and waterproof gloves too, but leave the scarves at home. Scarves can easily come loose and get tangled up, causing accidents and injuries. Wrapped around a child’s neck, if their scarf would catch on something, it could choke them.
Tip #2- Kids Under the Age of 12 Need Helmets for Protection
Since head injuries are common afflictions among sled riders, especially the younger ones, the American Academy of Orthopedics recommends that children under 12 wear helmets. The helmets should be approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Sled riders should wear warm hats underneath.
Tip #3- Check Their Sled Riding Equipment to Make Sure It’s In Good Repair
Before you let the kids hit the hills to go sled riding, check their sleds and other equipment to make sure they are in good shape. Basically, sleds should have workable steering; the boards should be securely in place; and the runners must be straight and free of rust.
Steerable sleds are much safer than inner tubes, saucers and similar devices that travel faster and can’t be steered.
Tip #4- Inspect the Sled Riding Area First to Make Sure It’s Safe
The safest areas for sled riding are clear of obstacles like trees, bushes, fences, walls, rocks, cliffs and waterways. Before you let the kids start having fun, check out the area to make sure it’s clear of hindrances such as these. And, sled riding should never been done in places where there are streets or parking lots at the bottom of the run. To make sled riding more safe, put bales of straw at the bottom of the run so stopping is easier and fairly soft.
Sled riding should only be done on snowy areas. Never sled on slippery, hard ice where controlling the glider is difficult, if not impossible. Falling on softer snow is safer than falling on ice too.
Tip #5- Separate the Older Kids From the Younger Ones and Supervise Them When Sled Riding
Another tip on how to keep kids safe when they’re sled riding is to put the younger children in an area away the older ones. They love to go faster, and the smaller ones tend to get in the way.