After it snows, kids young and old like to hit the hills for a day of sledding. But, if certain precautions aren’t taken, a fun winter activity can be dangerous, or even deadly. Here is some vital information from KidsHealth.org to help make our outing enjoyable AND safe.
THE RIGHT HILL
Selecting the Spot
- Make sure the hill is not too steep. You don’t want to pick up too much speed.
- While it’s better to sled during the day, if you sled at night choose a hillside that is well-lit
- TIP: If you feel you’re out of control, roll off your sled.
The End Game
- Choose a hill with a long, flat runoff area at the bottom so there’s room to slow down.
- Avoid hillsides that end near potential hazards, including:
- Parking Lots
- Wooded Areas
The Right Terrain
- Choose a hill free of obstacles, such as:
- Jumps and bumps
- Choose a hill that is snowy rather than icy
THE RIGHT GEAR
Protect Your Noggin
- Wear a helmet, preferably one designed for winter sports.
- A helmet designed for biking or skateboarding will also do.
- Helmet should fit snuggly and sit right above your brow line – covering your forehead.
Dress for Success
- To avoid hypothermia or frostbite, make sure outerwear is warm and waterproof.
- Consider wearing snow pants, boots, winter coat, gloves, and a hat.
- Avoid wearing scarves, which can pose strangulation dangers if they get caught.
- Avoid sleds that can’t be steered, like saucers or plastic toboggans.
- Don’t use makeshift sleds, such as cardboard boxes, lunch trays or inner tubes.
ODDS & ENDS
- An adult should be present to administer first-aid if necessary.
- Children 5 and under should ride with an adult.
- Children under 12 should have adult supervision.
On the Sled
- With the exception of young children, sledders should ride one at a time.
- Sled sitting up and facing forward down the hill.
- Keep arms and legs within the confines of the sled.
On the Hill
- Never build artificial jumps or obstacles.
- Walk up the side of the hill, leaving the middle open for other sledders.
- If you fall off your sled, quickly move to the side.