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The recent snowstorm across the eastern half of the country dumped over two feet of snow; some areas close to three feet. While snowboarders took to the snow-covered streets of New York (Lawsuit Financial doesn’t recommend this), many pulled out the sled and headed for the hills.

Although sledding is a popular winter pastime, it can unfortunately lead to serious injury and life-long consequences. In Nashville, this year’s first significant snowfall kept emergency rooms busy after more than two dozen people were injured in sledding related accidents. Fortunately, doctors said the most prevalent injuries were broken wrists.

A 2010 study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that more than 20,000 children and teens nationwide in any given year suffered injuries serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. Slightly over half of all sledding collisions were with objects or other sleds. More serious injuries, such as TBIs were more likely when sledding on a street rather than grass-covered hill. The numbers are even more concerning when considering the limited number of days sledding is usually undertaken.

The good news is, most sledding accidents are avoidable. Before you hit the hills and slopes, review this list of safety tips. While it may seem long, each tip is important for the safety of you and your loved ones.

  • Watch weather conditions. If it is too ice to drive, it will be dangerous to sled.
  • Dress warmly and in layers; remember the hat and gloves, and protective boots.
  • Carefully inspect sleds and toboggans for any broken parts or sharp pieces.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Young children should be supervised at all times.
  • Sled only in wide-open areas. Avoid hills with dangerous obstacles such as bumps, rocks, trees, fences, and poles. Make sure sledding path doesn’t end near a street, parking lot, pond, or other danger.
  • Use sleds that can be steered.
  • Learn how to stop and turn the sled by using your feet. Show your child how to properly ride on a sled.
  • Sled down sitting or lying on sled with feet first. Never attempt to ride standing on the sled.
  • Have only the recommended number of passengers on a sled at one time
  • Sled in daylight hours; it is too hard to see obstacles in the dark.
  • Roll off the sled sideways if you think an accident will occur.
  • Keep your eyes open and pay attention to what is happening around you.
  • Move quickly to the side once you reach the bottom of the hill.
  • When going back up the hill, walk to the side away from other sleds.

Adhering to these safety tips in addition to simple, common sense will go a long way to enjoying a fun, injury-free winter.

Lawsuit Financial hopes that when the snow drifts into your town, you will double-check this advice before taking your family through a white season. Happy Sledding!

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