Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sled safety

Sledding and other winter activities such as tubing and tobogganing, account for tens of thousands of reported injuries requiring medical treatment each winter, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. This is an astounding statistic, considering that snow activities take place for a relatively short period of time each winter. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises the following to help prevent injuries due to sledding accidents.
  • Wear helmets when sledding to avoid head and brain injuries. Sleds easily reach speeds of 20-25 mph.
  • Supervise sledding activities. About 71 percent of unsupervised sledding outings end in injuries, while only 29 percent occur when children are supervised.
  • Separate the older children from the younger ones.
  • Do not sled where there are snow-covered holes, roots, tree stumps and fences. Avoid areas with a lot of trees.
  • Sledding spots should have plenty of flat room at the bottom of the hill. Do not select a spot that ends in the middle of a street, busy parking lot or pond.
  • Dress in bright colors to be seen easily.
  • Bundle up in layers for extra warmth.
  • Have one child sled the course at a time. The next in line should not begin their trip down until the last one has ended their run.
  • Do not use sled-substitutes, e.g., cardboard boxes, cafeteria trays.
  • Select sleds with steering mechanisms as opposed to snow disks or inner tubes.
  • Keep sledding children away from cars and other motorized vehicles.
  • Do not ride a sled being pulled by anything motorized.

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