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Kids Can Break Their Heads Without Helmets When Using Sleds

winter sports

Sledding Can Be Dangerous

One of the trickiest things about being a parent is knowing the line between being safe and being overprotective. We make our kids wear helmets when they ride their scooters or bicycles, but we’ve never put helmets on them when they go sledding. To me, that always seemed overly cautious. Kids get in accidents, right?

I certainly don’t want them to live in fear of potentially getting injured. But I’m starting to think that when it comes to sledding, it may be better to be safe than sorry. I’d never forgive myself if my kids were brain damaged or worse and I knew I could have done something to prevent it.

When analyzing the statistics regarding emergency room injuries from 1997-2007, researchers found that 230,000 of the were sledding-related, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics in September.

The majority of the children were 10-14 years old and researchers found that boys were 10% more likely to be injured while sledding than girls.

The most frequent injuries were fractures, as well as head injuries. More than 9% of the kids suffered traumatic brain injuries. are now pushing for safer sledding practices, including wearing a helmet. Kids wear a helmet while skiing. Why not while sledding?

“I want them to go sledding, I want them to have fun, but we could do a better job,” Lara McKenzie, who led the study at Center on Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told MSNBC. “Twenty thousand injuries a year for an activity you can only do a couple days a year is big.”

There are other safety precautions children should take while sledding. Sit forward-facing and never sled headfirst.

Ron Miller and his wife Holly Wastler-Miller, lost their 12-year-old son, Ian, in a sledding accident. The couple is now pushing for a law which would require kids under 16 to wear helmets while sledding in public snow parks.

“Had Ian been wearing a helmet, he would be alive today,” Wastler-Miller told MSNBC.

Do you make your kids wear helmets while sledding or do you think it’s going overboard in terms of safety precautions? Meanwhile, check out these winter safety tips from Babble.

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photo: flickr/Brian Crawford

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