SUNDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Sledding is one of the many
outdoor activities that make winter wonderful, but certain safety
precautions are needed in order to prevent injuries, say
In 2004 -- the most recent year in which sledding injury data
was available -- sledding, snow tubing and tobogganing accounted
for 74,000 injuries treated at U.S. hospital emergency rooms,
doctors' offices and clinics, according to the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission.
Here are some sledding safety tips from the American Academy of
Pediatrics and emergency room doctors at Cincinnati Children's
Hospital Medical Center:
- Make sure children wear a helmet. Sleds can easily reach speeds
of 20-25 mph, according to research. Among sled injuries treated in
emergency rooms, about 15 percent are head injuries, and 43 percent
of those cases involve brain injuries.
- Maintain constant adult supervision. About 71 percent of
unsupervised sledding outings end in injuries, but that rate drops
to 29 percent when adults are present, according to an American
Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons study.
- Choose a safe site. Check for holes, roots, tree stumps and
fences that might be covered in snow. Avoid areas with trees. Don't
use slopes that end in a street, parking lot or pond. There should
be a flat run off at the bottom of the hill.
- Have children wear bright colors so that they're easier to spot
and encourage them to dress in layers for extra warmth.
- Allow only one child on the hill at a time. Don't allow the
next sledder to proceed until the previous one is safely off the
- Use a sled with a steering mechanism.
- Don't use cafeteria trays, cardboard boxes or other sled
- Don't allow children to ride on a sled that's being pulled by a
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