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Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful

Here's some sledding safety advice

SUNDAY, Dec. 29, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Many children will find sleds under the Christmas tree this year, but while sledding can be a fun thrill, it can also be dangerous.

More than 34,000 Americans needed emergency room treatment last year as a result of sledding injuries, and there's been a 30 percent increase in sledding injuries in the United States since 1990, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Children aged 5 to 9 are most susceptible. That's because they lack experience with speed and have underdeveloped coordination.

Sledding on a street is five times more likely to result in an injury than sledding in a yard or park. Most sledding accidents happen on weekends in January and February, and people who sled in a headfirst position are most vulnerable to injury.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following safety advice:

  • Use sleds that you can steer rather than snow discs.
  • Sled only where the bottom of the hill is away from motor traffic.
  • Watch out for trees and snow-covered hazards.
  • Don't ride flat. Sit up and face forward.
  • Wear a bike helmet and mouth guard.
  • Climb back up the hill on the side of the sled run, not in the middle where you may be hit by another sled.
  • Don't ride sleds onto water hazards, such as rivers or streams with thin ice.

More information

Here's where you can find out more about sledding safety.

SOURCE: Medical College of Wisconsin, news releas, December 2002
Consumer News