The first snowfall brings a sense of excitement and an opportunity for children, teens and adults to participate in outdoor winter activities. One of the most popular winter thrills involves taking to the hills for sledding in Missouri. Sledding is a great snow day activity, but many forget that it may lead to serious injuries if one does not stay alert.
The attorneys at MHM are here to provide you with some important safety tips for sledding in Missouri this season and avoiding a personal injury accident.
Understanding Common Sledding Injuries
Sledding is popular among all generations; however, the majority of accidents occur with children younger than 19. According to the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, over 220,000 patients were treated for sledding-related injuries in emergency rooms, and nearly 70% of those patients were children.
Sledding-related injuries may range from a brief injury where you are back on your feet in a few days to a catastrophic injury that may lead to years of recovery. Some of the most common injuries from sledding in Missouri include:
- Broken bones
- Strains and sprains
- Shoulder dislocations
- Neck and back injuries
Safe Sledding Tips for Missourians
To keep sledding safe, yet fun, we encourage you and your family to practice these safety tips before and during your outdoor winter activities.
- Check the hill before you enjoy the ride. Snow may hide objects that cause harm to sledders. Assess the hill for any obstructions such as holes, branches, rocks, poles, fences or trees to keep all sledders safe.
- Check your sleds before hitting the slopes. Just like any product, sleds may break over time. Make sure they are in proper working order before sledding by observing for cracks, missing ropes or other broken pieces.
- Sit face-forward on your sled and face your feet downhill. Going down a hill face-first increases your risk for a catastrophic head injury. Additionally, standing on a sled as you would when using a snowboard increases your chance of falling and risking injury to your arms or legs.
- Go down the hill one at a time. Sledding is an exciting activity, but everyone must wait their turn to avoid injury. Encourage young children to exercise patience to avoid a serious injury due to collision.
- Do not walk up the middle of a hill after you sled down. When others are sledding on a hill, walk up the sides to get back to the starting point and reduce your risk for an injury from someone sledding into you.
- Keep arms and legs within the sled at all times. This minimizes the risk of getting injured from debris or from your clothing getting caught on something as your sled gains speed.
- Maintain a watchful eye. Young children under the age of 5 should be accompanied by an adult on the sled, and children under 12 should be watched at all times.
- Dress warmly. If you participate in outdoor winter activities like sledding, wear thick gloves and boots to prevent frostbite and protect against other injuries.
- Look out for ice. A sled has a higher chance of losing control when ice is present. While it may seem fun as your speed increases, it may turn into a serious injury if you cannot stop your sled.
Meet with Missouri’s Personal Injury Attorneys
Outdoor winter activities are a fun way to enjoy the cold midwest weather to come. While sledding in Missouri is one of the most popular, it may also become the most dangerous if sledders do not exercise proper safety measures while out on the hills.
If you experienced an injury while sledding at the negligence of another, our personal injury attorneys are here to help you get back on your feet. Contact our team for a free consultation today.