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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Injury Prevention - Winter Safety

Tobogganing and Sledding

Tobogganing and sledding are fun winter pastimes, however, they can cause serious injuries that require medical attention. Colliding with objects such as trees, rocks, signs, and other people are common causes of sledding and tobogganing related injuries. Being aware of the dangers associated with these activities and exercising some common sense can help you and your family to have a safe and fun winter season.

  • Ensure the hill is free of hazards – trees, rocks, bumps, fences and bare spots. Avoid ice-covered areas.

  • Ensure the hill is away from roads, rivers or railroads and that there is plenty of room to stop at the bottom of the hill.

  • Look for a hill which is not too steep (less than 30 degrees is recommended for children) and has a long, clear runoff area.

  • Inspect the toboggan to ensure it is in good condition.

  • Use only proper sliding equipment with good brakes and steering. Inner tubes and plastic discs are not recommended because they are difficult to control.

  • Many tobogganing injuries are cold-related, such as frostbite and hypothermia. Heat loss is particularly significant in children under age three because their heads account for a larger proportion of their overall body size. Children should be dressed warmly in layers.

  • After tobogganing, children should get out of wet clothes and boots quickly to prevent frostbite.

  • Young children should always be supervised by an adult. They should never toboggan alone.

  • The safest position to be in while tobogganing is kneeling. Sliding on your stomach, headfirst, offers the least protection from a head injury. Laying flat on the back increases the risk of injuring the spine or spinal cord.

  • Look out for the other guy – move quickly to the side and walk up and away from the sliding path after finishing a run.

  • Children should not toboggan at night.

  • Head injuries while sledding can be serious. A ski helmet is recommended, because they are designed for use in cold weather and for similar falls and speeds.

  • Tuck in any scarves, strings or long hats that could potentially catch on a rock or tee and causes strangulation or other serious injuries.

  • Ensure the hill is away from roads, rivers, and railroads and that there is plenty of room to stop at the bottom of the hill.

 

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