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Child Sledding Injuries Number 20,000 a Year
Date:8/23/2010

nsequences of a head injury can be lifelong."

Collisions with trees, utility polls, fellow sledders and other obstacles caused about half of the injuries, according to the study. Collisions were the most likely to result in a head injury. Other causes of injuries were falls, flips and leaps off the sled, toboggans, snow tubes or snow disks.

Going to an official sledding zone doesn't seem to offer much protection. More than half of injuries occurred at a sports or recreation area, while about one third occurred on private property.

With some ski resorts are now requiring minors to wear helmets, and proposals in several state legislatures pending at various stages, sledders may also want to consider donning protective gear, McKenzie said, citing one report found that wearing helmets during skiing reduced head injuries in children under age 15 by 58 percent.

When it comes time to dig out the ear muffs and mittens, at the very least, parents should keep tabs on where their kids are sledding and make sure the hill has a clear run out for the sled to glide to a stop.

"The fact that 10- to 14-year-olds, particularly the boys, are more to prone to injuries speaks to the risk taking that goes along with those ages," Macy said. "If they can't be there when their children are making choices about sledding, parents need to talk to their children about the environment they're sledding in."

Other safety tips include:

  • Stay away from streets: Kids sledding on streets or highway were more likely than others to injure their head, according to the study.
  • Never use a motorized vehicle to pull a sled: Nearly 6,000 kids were injured on sleds while being pulled by cars, trucks, ATVs, tractors, dirt bikes, snowmobiles and lawnmowers. (Yes, people actually do that.)

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more on winter sp
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