January can be a great month for packing the kids up and taking the entire family on a sledding adventure. However, sledding can be dangerous if you don’t take the right precautions. Learn ways to help avoid the ER and stay safe while sledding.
1. Choose the right location
A lot of sledding injuries happen in rural areas where the route isn’t controlled and no one is quite sure what is under the white drifts that look so soft. If you want to sled in Lincoln, head to one of these commonly frequented locations for safe fun:
- Tanker Hill
- Arnold Heights Park
- Holmes Lake Park
- Pioneer Park Nature Center
- Mahoney State Park (Ashland, NE)
2. Never pull a sled with a vehicle
Despite the temptation, don’t hitch a sled to your car or ATV and try to pull it. If the sled goes out of control, the people on it can be severely injured. Use good old fashioned gravity and elbow grease to get a sled moving at a safe speed and enjoy the ride.
3. Wear head protection
If your family enjoys sports and athletics, odds are you have bike helmets or some other sort of protective headgear. Strap them on and protect your heads from getting knocked together if you hit a particularly bumpy patch.
4. Monitor children carefully
If your kid is big enough to stay on a sled by themselves, stay close enough to run to their aid if necessary. You’ll want to keep your kids in sight at all times, and make sure they know the rules: keep their hands and feet on the sled, and no standing up while the sled is moving!
5. Don’t sled after dark
You may not want the fun to end, but it’s best to pack things in before night falls. Sledding in the dark increases the risk of injury. Plan another outing soon and maybe stop for a hot chocolate on the way home to warm up.
Common sledding injuries
Seven out of ten injuries that occur when sledding happen to children ten and under. Severe injuries include concussions, dislocations, and fractures of arm or leg bones.
However, the most common sledding injuries fall into the categories of sprains and strains, with some cuts, bumps, and bruises thrown in. There’s no reason you shouldn’t go sledding as long as you are practicing safety.As always, if you or your child suffers an orthopedic injury, contact our office. Dr. Strasburger provides a full range of care for children and adults.