Just recently many schools around Marion-Polk Counties experienced closures due to the snowfall on January 4th. Snow days always bring the excitement of building a snowman, catching snowflakes on your tongue, and the thrill of sledding. We must all admit that the rush of sliding down a hill on a plastic disk is pretty exhilarating. The uncertainty of how fast or far you’ll go on a sled is thrilling to both grownups and children alike. Many winter fun memories are made from just 20 seconds of whizzing down a hill with the crisp air nipping at your face.
Although sledding is a fun activity to do as a whole family, it is important to remember that it involves dangerous risks of injury. Below are some sledding safety tips to consider before taking your young children sledding.
1. Dress for the weather. In an earlier post from 2015, Dressing Appropriately for Autumn Fun!, there are many tips to for dressing appropriate for colder temperatures. Remember layers, layers, layers! Make sure to dress children in sensible winter clothing — hats, gloves or mittens, snow pants, winter jacket, and snow boots. A helmet is a good option if your child owns one. Avoid scarves because they could lead to strangulation if they get caught on something on the way down the hill.
2. If possible go to a designated Sno Park. Oregon has many Sno Parks that are specifically made for fun sledding. If you can’t go to an actual Sno Park, make sure to scope out the sledding area beforehand. Avoid areas near high traffic, parking lots, lakes, trees, fences, or other possible hazardous barriers. Be cautious of icy hills, it could have hard packed snow which could accumulate to dangerous jumps. Check out the hill to make sure that it is free of rocks, gravel, or other debris. As the grownup, do a test run.
3. Bring the right equipment. Try to find a sled that can be steered and has brakes to slow down. Be aware that sleds like tubes, saucers, or toboggans, cannot be steered and can spin out of control. Items like lunch trays, trash bags, or cardboard boxes are not recommended to be used as sleds. Follow the number of passengers as stated on the sled. If it’s made for one rider, don’t try to pack three kids on it.
4. Remind kids to keep their arms and legs within the sled at all times. Teach kids to carefully roll off a sled that is going too fast or won’t stop.
5. Remind kids to walk up the sides of a hill, leaving the middle open for other sledders to come down.
6.Never pull a child in a sled behind a motorized vehicle like a car, ATV, or snowmobile.
The Parenting Hub would love to hear about fun winter sledding stories with your family. Please send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safety Tips: Sledding
Sledding Safety for Kids
Oregon Sno Parks