As soon as the snow begins to fall, one thing crosses your mind: It’s time to bring out the sleds! This fun family activity should end with everyone exhausted and sitting around cups of hot cocoa, but, unfortunately, many sledding trips end in the emergency room because parents neglected to take adequate safety precautions.
As many as 20,000 people are injured due to sledding every year, according to Parenting. However, by following the tips below, you can ensure safe and enjoyable sledding adventures with your kids this year.
- Nationwide Children’s Hospital reminds us of the importance of dressing appropriately. Children must dress warmly (preferably in layers), with gloves and boots, and wear a multi-sport or bicycle helmet to prevent head injuries.
- Kids Health advises choosing a suitable hill. All snow-covered hills may look ideal for sledding, which may be a big temptation for kids that can’t wait to get started. However, it is important to choose a safe hill by taking into consideration steepness, whether it has a flat space at the bottom to glide to a stop, the surrounding area (it should be away from streets, parking lots, ponds, trees, fences, and other hazards), and any obstacles along the route. Lastly, the hill must be covered in snow, not ice, as falling on ice can be painful.
- The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says to use the right seating position. Riders should sit in a forward-facing position and steer with either their feet or with a rope tied to the handles of the sled. No one should sled headfirst.
- Don’t forget sun protection. Sunlight reflecting off the snow can blind your eyes and make it difficult to see and steer the sled in the right direction. Make sure everyone is using sunglasses, which will also protect eyes from flying snow while you are flying downhill. You should also use sunscreen on exposed skin.
Now that you’ve taken care of the safety aspects, it’s time to make your sledding adventure more fun! Spoonful recommends having a sled pulling contest. Place dogs, or stuffed animals, on your sleds and pull them to the finish line. The race must be short if you are using dogs, as they are likely to jump off! Be sure to have a stopwatch on hand to see who can pull their team the fastest!
What are your family’s favorite sledding games and activities? Leave a comment below to share with us!
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