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Head for the Hills With Sled Safety in Mind

Kids at higher risk for head and neck injuries while sledding, safety experts warn

rubber tubing on the snow

FRIDAY, Jan. 13, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- When temperatures drop and snow falls, children are ready to reach for their hats, scarves -- and sleds.

Sledding and snow tubing are among the fun winter activities that families can enjoy together. But, there are steps parents should take to ensure their kids remain injury-free, the National Safety Council cautions.

Children can get hurt if their sled hits a stationary object, such as a rock or a tree. Falling off a sled can also result in injuries, including bruises, cuts and broken bones. Children younger than 6 years old are at particularly high risk for head and neck injuries, the council warned.

When choosing sleds, pick those that can be steered. These models are safer than flat sheets, snow discs and toboggans that don't provide kids with control over their direction, the council said.

Parents should make sure their children are dressed warmly before they head out into the snow. While sledding, kids should not only wear gloves and boots but also a helmet to help prevent head injuries. Children shouldn't sled alone. An adult should always be present to supervise and help when necessary, the council advised.

Parents should also teach kids about sledding safety. The council provided the following tips:

  • Only sled in areas that are clear of trees and other obstacles, such as fences, light poles and rocks.
  • Teach children how to stop and turn their sled with their feet.
  • Don't overload a sled. Only the recommended number of passengers should ride at one time.
  • Never sled in the street.
  • Never ride a sled that's being pulled by a car, ATV, snowmobile or other motorized vehicle.
  • Avoid sledding on hills that drop off into a street, parking lot or body of water.
  • Tubes are safest when used at tubing parks, often found at ski resorts.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons provides more tips on how to prevent sledding injuries.

SOURCE: National Safety Council
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