Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Sledding Safety


Winter Sledding Safety

Dashing through the snow
FEET first on the sleigh
SA-FE-LY we go
Laughing all the way!

If you are lucky enough to experience a winter wonderland this season, you or your kids may end up sledding. As much fun as this activity offers, it can also cause a number of injuries, especially for younger children.

Did you know that thousands of kids and adults are injured annually due to sledding in city parks, neighborhoods, and resort areas? Because there are several known risk factors associated with this beloved holiday activity, parents can play a pivotal role in keeping their loved ones safe. Supervising your kids before and during this activity is the key to their safety.

Before sledding

Choosing an environment suitable for sledding is essential for everyone’s safety. Public streets for example, no matter how clear of motor vehicles, are not ideal for sledding. In addition, parks or hills with obstacles in them, such as trees, rocks, and fence posts, are not the clearest field for this activity.

Pick a location clear of pedestrians, vehicles, and hazards in the sledding path. Be sure the end of the path is also clear. The sledding run must not end in a street, drop off, parking lot, or pond, etc. Rather, it should end in a flat clearing, giving the sled time and space to slow to a stop.

Evening sledding should only be done in well-lit areas.

Before going sledding, be sure that the kids are prepared with the right gear and some education. All children should wear helmets as they help protect them from deadly or debilitating injuries.

Choose a sled that has a runner and a steering mechanism. Flat sheets or snow discs are hazardous as they are more difficult to control and more susceptible to damage by objects.

Bundle your kids up well for sledding. Wet snow makes them more likely to grow colder quickly.

Be sure to educate sledders with the following tips.

  1. Always sled with an adult present
  2. Always sled with the right amount of passengers recommended for the product
  3. Always sled feet first rather than head first
  4. Keep sleds unattached from each other, or from other vehicles.
  5. Practice stopping and turning the sled using your feet beforehand.
  6. Always sit facing forward, never on your stomach.
  7. Take turns. Don’t start sledding if someone else is in the pathway.
  8. Do sled off the designated course.

During sledding

As your kids sled, be sure to supervise them. Keep an eye out for others in their sledding pathway. Being aware of the amount of sledding traffic can prevent collisions. Communicate with your kids as they go down the hill should an obstacle arise. Remind them to take turns.

Taking these extra measures and precautions before and during activities creates a safer sledding environment for everyone, and hopefully will give you more peace of mind.

Last Edited: January 26, 2017
Valued Participant of Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network