Monday, January 3, 2011

Sledding Safety Sense

Turn around and wear a helmet!
Normally, we don’t get the first snowfall of the season until after the New Year, but to most everyone’s delight, almost the entire state got a few inches on Christmas day.
When I was young, we didn’t have a real sled and on those rare occasions we got enough snow to sled in, we just used a trash can lid. After observing the kids in my neighborhood after the huge snowfall, I see most of them are improvising as well.
This year, my FIL got my dd a sled for Christmas. UnFortunately, we didn’t receive it in time for the 5 inches of snow that landed at our house. I didn’t mind though, because my dd is only 2.5 and I doubt she can yet handle a full-size sled. This buys me more time to negotiate my desire for her safety with my husband’s desire for her to hit the berm in the back yard.
I looked up some sledding safety tips and wanted to share them with you. The following applies to all sledders—young and old alike.
·    Always wear a helmet that fits properly and securely. Even a bike helmet will provide extra protection against accidents.
·    Dress in layers and wear warm, close-fitting clothes. Make sure that long scarves are tucked in and avoid drawstrings to prevent them from getting caught on objects.
·    Never sled head first. Always sled facing forward, with feet first. Every year thousands of people are treated for serious injury related to sledding. The most serious of these are injuries of the head, neck, and spinal cord.
·    Use a sled that can steer. Avoid using items such as cardboard boxes, trashcan lids, etc as sleds.
·    Keep younger and older children sledding in different paths. Sliding devices that are harder to steer, such as a plastic snow disk or a snow tube, are also best used by older children.
·    Location is important. Make sure the hill is open and free of obstacles (such as trees and fences). Keep in mind there may be hidden objects (such as rocks and tree stumps) under the snow. Avoid slopes that end in a street, parking lot, or pond and avoid icy surfaces.
·    Never pull a sled behind a vehicle.
·    Parents should always supervise children children 12 and under.
·    Stay hydrated. Drink fluids before, during and after winter play.
·    Go inside when you need to. Kids — or caregivers — who become distracted or irritable, or begin to hyperventilate, may be suffering from hypothermia, or they may be too tired to participate safely in winter sports. They need to go indoors to warm up and rest.

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