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Safety First, People. Put A Helmet On Your Kids When Sledding

winter helmet safety for kids when sleddingMy friend Kerri took her daughter sledding this weekend and, as usual, slapped a helmet on her kid. It’s a cute helmet with cat ears on it, and they had a wild weekend ripping down the hill (well about as wild as a 3 year old will get ripping down the hill).

When they were in line at a store later, her daughter started talking about their sledding adventure (as kids will do) when the cashier asked, “Why were you wearing a helmet?” looking confused.

“I have a kitty helmet,” her daughter chirped in. “It keeps my head safe! And it has ears!”

Kerri’s a smart mom, in my books. My wife gives me the evil eye whenever I pack up our boys for a run down the local hill with little more than a hat on.

Yes, our parents were kids in an era before car seats, but guess what? Now that we put our kids in carseats, less kids are getting hurt or dying, it’s a fact.

Yes, my brother and I would hit crazy speeds and jumps every winter when we went skiing down the slopes of Mount Baker, but now that kids are wearing helmets, less people are getting hurt and dying, it’s a fact.

What are the chances Natasha Richardson‘s family wishes she would have been wearing a helmet when she fell, and died while skiing at Mont Tremblant. That incident has made helmets mandatory on many hills.

Sledding can be just as deadly. In the past few weeks a Rhode Island teenager, and an 11 year old Las Vegas girl died in sledding accidents.

Some statistics you should probably know:

- There were 160,000 sledding, tubing, and tobogganing related injuries in 2007
- 15,000 of these injuries required emergency room visits
- The cost of these injuries totaled more than $4 billion dollars
- The majority of these injuries were experienced by kids 14 and under
- The most common sledding-related injury was head injuries (15%)
- 43% of these were injuries to the brain
- Sleds can reach speeds of 25 mph
- Helmets are 85% effective in preventing brain injuries

I’m all for free range parenting that encourages kids to be kids and to get out and explore and live life. I’m not a fan of bubble-wrapping our children, but sometimes common sense comes into play. Don’t you think? I mean, if there’s a safer way of doing something, why would we ignore it?

I put helmets on my kids for skating lessons. I have them in car seats in my car. We wear helmets when we ride our bikes. Why wouldn’t I put a helmet on them for sliding activities too?

Kerri (and her daughter) are very proud to wear their helmet when they go sledding. “I’m writing “Safety First!” on the back of it with a Sharpie marker,” she declared.

Time to get some helmets for my boys.

Follow DadCAMP on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or catch up on all of his posts here on Babble.

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Images via Buzz Bishop. No use without permission.

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