Pro Consumer Safety offers insight on sledding. As an injury and neuroepidemiologist there is no doubt that sledding is dangerous. However instead of cities and townships banning sledding it would be in their best interest to consider establishing policies that promote physical activity such as sledding to get more parents and children doing activities together, provide safety awareness campaigns and helmet requirements. Parents, drivers on snow covered and icy roads and sledder, need to also take responsibility.
PROMOTE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: While public health officials have advocated for increasing physical activity, Public Health Behavior Solutions further advocates that parents to provide opportunities for their children to participate and learn various activities of "healthy" risk. Learning new skills, even sledding,can have both physical, social and emotional benefits including learning.
CITY & TOWNSHIP POLICIES: City and townships should consider establishing policies to provide 1) safe areas for sledding, 2) education and safety awareness campaigns, 3) requirements for helmet use, and 4) adult supervision. In addition local or statewide laws can also established requiring helmets to be worn while sledding. Fine money from violating this law can then be used to provide public safety and sledding use awareness campaign. Public Health Behavior Solutions has worked with state and local governments to establish similar public health strategies.
SLEDDING SAFETY TIPS: Pro Consumer Safety provides sledding safety tips to the general public. As mentioned there is no doubt that sledding is dangerous. Common injures are c-spine (neck) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), generally from running into trees and among children 9-14 years of age. But it is not the activity itself so much as it is how the activity is practiced. Sledding often is done in an uncontrolled environment, which increases risk from sudden bumps, holes, trees, cars and even Thin Ice Dangers. Adults need to supervise children and be aware of hazardous areas. Adults need to make sure children use sleds or toboggans and make sure they are in good condition. In addition to never use disks, tubes or plastic sliders because they cannot be steered. Sledders should always wear a helmet, that is is used for skiing and snowboarding, and make sure it is worn properly and fastened snugly.
CLOTHING AND HYDRATION: Wearing proper types of clothing materials, gloves and layering helps to prevent hypothermia. Drinking plenty of water and eating proper energy snacks will help to prevent from becoming dehydrated. When children run up and down snowy slopes uses lots of energy, so children need tokeep well hydrated.
DRIVING IN SNOW AND ON ICY ROADS: Drivers need to also know how to properly drive in snow and ice. Some states like in California require tire chains to be carries in your vehicle while driving on mountain highways and to be used during chain control requirements.