Skip to content

Children's Health

Font Size
A
A
A

Kids' Sleds Fun but Not Harmless

Safety Recommendations From British ER Docs
By
WebMD Health News

Nov. 19, 2003 -- Sleds can be dangerous toys. Is it time for helmets and protective clothing?

Yes, says a team of U.K. emergency-room doctors. During last year's first snowfall, J.G. Cooper and colleagues treated 46 young sledding accident victims in the emergency room of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Their report appears in the November issue of the Emergency Medicine Journal.

Among the 49 injuries (some kids had more than one):

Eight of the kids were admitted to the hospital; 12 had to return for outpatient visits. Overall, there were lots of broken bones but no deaths, although sledding deaths have been seen in the past.

How did they do it?

  • 14 kids fell off their sleds.
  • 12 kids had collisions with trees, fences, etc.
  • 5 kids had collisions with other sleds, other sledders, or pedestrians.
  • Four kids twisted their foot under their sleds.
  • Two kids put their limbs out to stop their sleds.
  • Two kids fell while pulling or running after their sled.
  • Two kids cut their hands on the edge of their sleds.

The kids' ages ranged from 2 to 13 years, with an average age of 8 1/2. Slightly more than half were boys.

In the U.K., sleds are called sledges. Most of those used by the kids were of the plastic variety, although one injured child was using a skateboard.

"Sledges travel fast, are difficult to steer and hard to brake," Cooper and colleagues write. "They are often driven by young novices on slopes that are crowded, unprepared, and unsupervised. Despite the free availability of sledges and the uncontrolled access to what can be a very high-speed activity, there seems to be little awareness that sledging is a potentially dangerous activity and few safety precautions are taken."

The doctors recommend:

  • Kids should wear protective clothing, especially helmets and heavy gloves.
  • There should be adult supervision at all times.
  • Sled slopes should be free of all immovable obstacles. The bottom of the slope should have enough room for the sled to stop without rapid braking.
  • Communities should consider roping off popular sled slopes so that kids aren't going down the same part of the hill other kids are coming up.
  • Sled only on sleds -- not on skateboards, plastic bags, service trays, etc.
  • Safe sledding instructions should come with every new sled. Teachers and doctors should hand out safe-sledding leaflets to kids and parents.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
 
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.
 

worried kid
fitArticle
jennifer aniston
Slideshow
 
Measles virus
Article
sick child
Slideshow
 

babyapp
New
Child with adhd
Slideshow
 
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool