9 Tips to Avoid a Sledding Accident in Missouri this Winter

Children engaging in outdoor winter activities, with one child sledding down a snowy hill.

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 you get into a sledding accident. 

The personal injury attorneys at MHM are here to provide you and your kids with some important sledding safety tips to prevent sledding and snow tubing accidents this season. 

Common Injuries in a Sledding Accident

Sledding has been a popular activity among all generations in the Midwest; however, the majority of sledding accidents occur with children younger than 19. More than 20,000 children were treated for injuries from sledding and snow tubing from sledding into stationary objects like trees or rocks or from falling off their sled. 

Injuries from a sled crash 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 adults and kids sledding in Missouri include:

9 Tips to Steer Clear of a Sledding Accident

To keep sledding safe, yet fun, we encourage you and your family to practice these sledding safety tips before and during your outdoor winter activities. 

  1. Check the hill before you sled. 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 maintain a safe sled environment. It is also important to inspect the steepness of the hill and make sure you have enough of a flat surface at the bottom to come to a safe stop. 
  2. 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.  
  3. 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. 
  4. 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 a sled crash. 
  5. 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 a sledding accident from someone sledding into you. 
  6. 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. 
  7. Maintain a watchful eye. Young children under the age of 5 should be accompanied by an adult on a sled, and children under 12 should be watched at all times to prevent serious sledding accidents. 
  8. Dress warmly. If you participate in outdoor winter activities like sledding, wear thick gloves and boots to prevent frostbite and protect against other injuries. 
  9. 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, like sledding and snow tubing, are fun ways to enjoy snowy Midwestern days. If sledders do not exercise proper safety measures while out on the hills, they can cause serious sledding accidents. 

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.