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Safe Sledding Tips


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Sledding is clearly one of the most fun parts of winter. But low temps, high speeds and uncertain terrain can sometimes result in nasty (and preventable!) trips to the ER. Make sure you’re heeding these safety tips this season. 

•Tuck in scarves so they don’t get caught on anything as kids zoom down the hill. Better yet, use a face mask or balaclava, advises the NJ Office of Emergency Management (OEM). 

• Drink water before, during and after play. People often forget the importance of staying hydrated when it’s cold, says KJ Feury, RN, injury prevention coordinator of Northern NJ Safe Kids/Safe Communities. “If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated,” explains Joanie Roop, the coordinator of Safe Kids Union County. 

• Use a steerable sled with brakes. Avoid tubes, saucers or toboggans, which can’t be directed easily. And don’t use lunch trays, cardboard boxes or other sled substitutes, which can be dangerous.

• Stick to designated sledding areas like those in county parks, says Feury. That way, you’ll know the hill is safe and doesn’t lead to a street, body of water or crowded area. It also won’t have rocks, tree stumps, sprinkler heads or other obstacles that could cause injury.

• Choose hills that are snowy, not icy. Icy slopes mean hard ground, which means kids could get hurt falling off sleds. 

• Avoid night sledding unless it’s in a really well-lit area.

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