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Nearly 15,000 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in emergency rooms in 2001 for injuries related to sledding. Parents and caregivers should remember the following tips:

Three kids and one adult  sledding down a hill

  • Make sure terrain is free of obstacles and far from traffic. Children should sled on packed snow (not ice) that is free of debris. Check carefully for snow-covered hazards such as rocks, tree limbs and stumps that could endanger sledders or skiers.
  • Use equipment that is sturdy and safely constructed. Avoid equipment with sharp and jagged edges.
  • Look for energy-absorbing pads on sled seats.
  • Examine handholds on sleds to be sure they are secure.
  • Ensure sleds and toboggans have steering devices that work easily and don't jam.

Parents should remind children to:

  • Sled only on terrain that is free of obstacles.
  • Make sure the bottom of the slope is far from streets, traffic and frozen or partially frozen ponds, lakes or creeks.
  • Always use a sled with a steering mechanism. Avoid makeshift sleds.
  • Avoid lying flat on the sled while riding down hill. Always sit up with feet forward - lying flat increases the chance of head and abdominal injuries.
  • Never ride in a sled pulled by a motorized vehicle.
  • Make sure the number of children riding on the sled does not exceed the manufacturer's recommendations.


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