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News > Parents, children should practice sledding safety
Parents, children should practice sledding safety

Posted 12/10/2010   Updated 12/10/2010 Email story   Print story


by Kevin McDowell
JBER Safety Office

12/10/2010 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The snow has arrived and many children (young and old alike) are starting to take part in age-old recreational wintertime activities.

The first winter activity many enjoy is sledding.

Sadly, sledding is also responsible for many thousands of visits to the emergency room, as well as many fatalities.

The following rules should help to prevent needless injuries while allowing your family to have wintertime fun.

First, select the best sled you can afford.

Sleds with runners or another form of steering provide the rider more control over the direction of travel and can help prevent disaster.

Plastic toboggans and snow discs provide very little opportunity for the rider to steer around a potential hazard.

Second, choose the sledding path wisely.

Avoid paths with obstacles such as trees and rocks, and especially avoid paths that run toward or into a street or road.

Due to the layout of the natural terrain on JBER, hills which slope toward a road are common throughout the installation.

Many residents use these hills for sledding and tobogganing, placing themselves and their children at great risk.

Vehicles may not be able to stop in time to avoid an uncontrolled sled suddenly appearing on the road, and the impact between the vehicle and the sledder may result in serious injury or even death.

As a reminder: Do not sled on any hills sloping in the direction of a road surface.

Third, ensure children wear protective equipment.

A bicycle helmet will help prevent head injury if they do strike an object or the ground.

Last but not least, proper supervision can go a long way in mishap prevention.

Let your children know where they can and cannot sled.

Supervising your children can also help your children avoid injury from stunts, since they are less likely to attempt them when a parent is present.

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