Sledding is a popular winter recreation and only enjoyed for a portion of the year. Still it lands about 20,000 kids in the emergency room each and every year, a new research shows. Researchers analyzed data over a 10 year period. They found well over 200,000 injuries bad enough for a trip to the ER in that period of time among children under the age of 19.
The main finding of this study are as follows:
- 26% of the injuries were found to be fractures.
- 25% of the injuries were cuts and bruises.
- 51% of the injuries happened during a collision.
- 34% of the injuries involved a blow to the head.
- 52% of the injuries were at a place of sports or recreation.
- 31% of injuries happened on private property.
- 42.5% of injuries involved children ages 10 to 14.
- 59.8% of all the injuries were sustained by boys.
- 4.1% of all emergency room visits required hospitalization.
Children were more likely to sustain head injuries and to be diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and hospitalized if these accidents occurred on a street. The two main factors that contribute to sledding related injuries are the environment and the locale. Sledding areas should be clear of trees and other obstacles. There should be sufficient run-out areas away from any streets to avoid collisions with motor vehicles.
Sledding has proven to be a bigger problem than originally thought. Given the chances for serious injury, children should never ride a sled that is being pulled by a motorized vehicle of any type, including all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles, dirt bikes, and lawn mowers. Further research is needed to determine whether helmets would reduce the injury rates or the seriousness of the injuries. They also examined the types of sledding vehicles involved in injuries, from sleds and snow tubes to toboggans and snow disks. Some other finding that were discovered are:
- Children ages 9 and older were more likely to be injured through collisions.
- Children ages 4 and younger were more likely to be involved in accidents with vehicles.
- One third of all injuries were caused by kids being pulled by motorized vehicles.
- The use of sleds that can rotate, such as disks and snow tubes, should be discouraged. The lack of control contributes to more injuries.
- Children should be supervised by parents when sledding at all times.
The data contained in this article is from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the US Census Bureau.