MAYWOOD, Ill. – Children can get giddy with anticipation before a hearty snowfall and sledding. The adrenaline from speeding down an icy hill, feeling the snow spraying your face and the wind’s icy fingers nearly taking your breath away can be exhilarating. There is nothing like tearing down a perfect sledding hill to get rid of cabin fever. However, serious injuries can accompany the winter fun if precautions are not taken.
“There are some hidden dangers to sledding. It’s a great winter pastime, but there are risks involved. Parents need to be aware of these risks to help prevent injuries,” said Terri Cappello, MD, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Loyola University Medical Center.
Though injuries to the extremities were the most common in older kids, children 6 and under most often suffered head and neck injuries.
“Parents don’t often think about putting a helmet on a child when they go sledding, but if the child is under the age of 6 it’s important. Also, never let your child sled head first. Injuries have been associated with the leading body part. If you lead with your head, you’re more likely to get a head injury,” Cappello said.
Here are a few tips to keep kids safe this winter:
“Sledding is a great winter activity and, if parents take precautions, they can decrease or prevent injuries so kids can have fun,” Cappello said.
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