Snow Day? How to Keep Your Kids Sledding Safely

If you live in one of the 30 states that caught a cold blast of winter last week, odds are there’s plenty of snow in your front yard right now. While you may not appreciate snow-shoveling duty, the white stuff spells F-U-N for kids. Whizzing down a snow-covered hill is a quintessential winter activity, but it's important to make sure your kids stay safe while sledding.

As the mom of an adventurous boy, I’ve learned that a few scrapes, bumps and bruises are just part of childhood. But practicing sledding safety isn’t overprotective behavior -- it’s just common sense. After all, sledding is the cause of many emergency room visits for fractures, head injuries and other please-don’t-happen-to-my-kid problems. In fact, a study published in the September 2010 issue of Pediatrics states that U.S. emergency rooms see an average of 20,280 kids per year with sledding-related injuries.

Dr. Jennifer Shu, pediatrician and co-author of Heading Home with Your Newborn and the medical editor of the American Academy of Pediatric's HealthyChildren.org website, encourages parents to “make sure kids sled with adult supervision, try to find a sled that can be steered, go feet first, and consider using a helmet.”

We all know how hard it can be to get kids to follow rules like these, but when you consider the fact that sleds can reach speeds of 20-25 miles per hour (can you say head injury?), they're worth enforcing.

For more safe-sledding advice, check out these tips from the experts at the AAP and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

How do you keep your kids safe when sledding? Chime in below!
 

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