10 sledding safety tips

How NOT to go down the hill and into the emergency department

It’s the first snowfall of the season, and the Norton Children’s Hospital emergency department has already treated several sledding injuries.

“Kids and adults can get seriously hurt — or even killed — if they’re not careful,” said Erika Janes with Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness.

If your family is hitting the hills, Janes offers the following advice:

Norton eCare video visit

If it’s not an emergency, but you want to talk to a doctor

  • Only use devices designed for sledding. Do not use the old-fashioned wooden sleds that have sharp blades for runners.
  • Do not sled with more riders than your device is made for.
  • Wear a helmet. Many sledding mishaps involve head injuries.
  • Dress in layers so you can remove one layer without risking frostbite. Several thin layers are warmer than one bulky layer.
  • Make sure you’re with someone who knows your name and can contact family in an emergency; parents should remain with their children.
  • Don’t drink alcohol before sledding. It impairs your ability to use good judgment and causes the body to lose heat more rapidly.
  • Check your path for trees and other objects before starting your descent.
  • Don’t sled head-first or face backward, and make sure your vision isn’t obscured by a hat or other garment.
  • When climbing the hill, stay to the sides. Don’t walk in the sledding path.
  • Never let someone “tow” you with a motorized vehicle.