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Keep your kids safe with these sledding tips

There’s no doubt about it, sledding is tons of fun. It serves as a great winter activity. A day on the hill makes for great family fun and can keep kids occupied for hours at a time.

Unfortunately, sledding accidents can also land kids in the hospital. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, more than 220,000 patients in the U.S. were treated in emergency departments for sledding-related injuries from 2008 through 2017. Nearly 70 percent of these patients were 19 and under.

Collisions cause the majority of sledding injuries. Almost half of all injury-causing collisions happened when the sledder hit something nearby. Collisions also hurt sledders when the sledder hit the ground or ran into another person or sled.

Before heading out to sled, review these tips from the Center for Injury Research and Policy, UPMC University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the National Safety Council:

  • Wear a helmet.
  • A “steerable” wooden sled with flexible metal runners is recommended for children ages 6 to 12.
    • Inspect the sled often to make sure that it is still in good condition.
  • Find a safe place to sled ride. Avoid steep or rocky hills, streets, driveways, icy surfaces, and areas with trees, rocks, fences, poles, walls or cars. Check slopes for bare spots, holes and obstructions.
  • Be sure there is plenty of space at the bottom of the hill to allow the sled to safely slow down. Avoid hills that end in a street, drop off, parking lot, river or pond.
  • Do not sled in dark or poorly lit areas.
  • Never pull a sled behind a car, ATV or snowmobile.
  • Teach children to roll off a sled that won’t stop or is dangerously close to an obstruction.
  • Wear heavy gloves and boots to prevent cuts, bruises and frostbite.
  • Riders should sit or lay on their back with feet pointing downhill; never sled headfirst.

Source: Health & Fitness section of cleveland.com