Helmets Shown to Protect Against Head Injuries When Sledding

Your children wouldn’t ride their bicycles without first putting on their safety helmets. Those same helmets can protect your children from suffering head injuries while sled riding.

Research shows that 30 percent of children hospitalized following a sledding injury suffered significant head injuries, such as concussions, comas, and brain damage.

Several years ago, a 12-year-old boy was killed when the plastic sled he was riding slid backwards into a metal ski tower. He sustained massive head injuries and died. His parents worked to get public snow parks and ski areas to require helmets for sledders. Helmets are now required in Washington, D. C. for sledders under 16.

The journal, Pediatrics recommends that children wear helmets when sledding to protect them from injury in the event of a collision or fall from a sled. According to the Culture of Safety Web site, helmets are 85 percent effective in preventing brain injuries and should be worn by all children who sled, especially those under 12 years of age. Sleds going down steep hills can travel at speeds in excess of 20-25 miles per hour. If a rider is thrown from the sled or crashes into an object, the resulting injuries could be extensive, even fatal.

What else can you do to protect your children as they enjoy one of winter’s most popular activities?

Select a sledding area that’s free of trees, exposed rocks, benches, parked cars and telephone poles.

Avoid streets and highways. Children hurt in street accidents are more likely to suffer head injuries.