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Thursday, January 4, 2024

Snow is On the Way! This Activity Sends Thousands of Kids to Emergency Departments Each Year

Posted By: Advancing Care

Medically reviewed by Darshan Patel, MD

Sledding is a fun wintertime activity for families, however those exhilarating slides down neighborhood hills sent more than 200,000 people to emergency departments over a recent 10-year period with almost 70 percent of those injured under the age of 19.

During a typical winter season, the pediatric emergency department at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital cares for dozens of children injured while sledding. Common sledding injuries seen at the hospital include bruises, lacerations, broken bones, and abdominal and brain traumas.

Children sustain these injuries when sleds strike trees, fences and even other sledders. Often, the severity of the injury is compounded by the weight of a parent riding along with the child.

boy falling off sled

Originally offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics, pediatric trauma experts at María Fareri Children’s Hospital share the following tips for safe sledding:

  • Keep sledders away from motor vehicles.
  • Supervise children while sledding.
  • Keep young children separated from older children.
  • Sled feet first or sitting up, instead of lying down head-first, to help prevent head injuries.
  • Consider having your child wear a helmet while sledding.
  • Use steerable sleds, not snow disks or inner tubes. Avoid sledding in crowded areas.
  • Use sleds that are structurally sound and free of sharp edges and splinters, and make sure the steering mechanism is well-lubricated.
  • Make sure slopes are free of obstructions like trees or fences, are covered in snow and clear of ice, are not too steep and end with a flat runoff.

If your child is injured while sledding or if you suspect your child may have a traumatic brain injury, bring your child to the nearest emergency department immediately.

WMCHealth’s Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, MidHudson Regional Hospital, and Good Samaritan Hospital have emergency departments dedicated to pediatric emergency care.