Lots of people love to go sledding in the wintertime in Virginia and in other cold areas in the U.S. It’s practically an American pastime.

But winter sledding, no matter how fun, doesn’t come without its risks – namely, the risks of collision injury for children and adults alike.

These injuries can happen in an instant and it can be hard to piece together the how and the why.

Taking certain safety measures ahead of participating in any sledding activity is key to reducing your (or your child’s) risk of an injury.

Read on to learn key stats about how prevalent sledding injuries are and how to best prevent them this winter.

Sledding Injuries: What the Statistics Show

A new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that the rate of sledding injuries overall has decreased in recent years. But it’s still concerning.

The study reports that 220,488 patients were treated in U.S. emergency departments for injuries related to sledding from 2008 through 2017. Of these injuries, nearly 70% of victims were children ages 19 and younger. And compared to adults, children were almost 7 times as likely to be treated in an emergency department for a sledding-related injury.

Collision injuries are the most common. These occur when a victim makes contact with a nearby object, hits the ground, or runs into another person. And those who suffered collision injuries were more likely to injure their head and be diagnosed with a concussion or a closed-head injury.

A recent Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine study found that the type of sled may also impact the risk of a head injury in a sledding accident. Children riding snow tubes and on sledding disks had a greater risk of sustaining a concussion than children riding sleds or toboggans.

And sledders being pulled by motorized vehicles (cars, ATVs, snowmobiles) had the most serious injuries, even requiring hospitalization and, sometimes, resulting in death.

Tips for Safer Sledding Outings

While wintertime sledding injuries are only 100% preventable by not participating in the activity, there are ways to significantly reduce your risk of getting hurt if you do get outside this winter.

Follow these tips for a safer sledding outing:

  • Wear a Helmet – Properly fitting snow sport helmets or bike helmets are most ideal.
  • Choose Your Sled – Sleds that can be steered and have braking functions are more easily controlled than other types.
  • Choose a Safer Environment – Make sure your sledding environment is free of large obstacles such as trees, rocks, and light poles. Also ensure that there is plenty of space at the end of the hill to allow for a safe slowdown.
  • Sled Feet First – Always sled feet first facing the bottom of the hill.
  • Practice the Roll-Off Method – If the sled is going too fast or heading toward a crash, teach yourself or your child to roll off the sled to avoid serious injury.
  • Sled Only During Daylight – For the most safety, never sled in the evening hours.
  • Make Sure an Adult is Present – Having an adult present to monitor the activities can help ensure sledders are following safety guidelines.

Reach Out For Legal Help After An Accident

If you’ve been in an accident through no fault of your own, I can help you understand your legal rights and help you seek compensation for physical and mental damages. Reach out anytime by calling 703-813-6460 or by contacting me. My mission is to help you get better and get back to your life.