Doctors Offer Sledding Safety Tips

By: Melissa Toupin

A big hill and lots of snow means one thing to the Kraemer's of Providence.

“We are sledding and having a fantastic time as a family,” said mother Monika Kraemer.

As the Kraemer's two young daughters glide down the hills at Roger Williams Park they can't help but think about an accident at nearby Neutaconkanut Park. Wednesday a city teen was killed after her sled hit a tree. The tragedy stop them from sledding, but where they sled.

“It's really about just finding the right spots so that we
can just have fun and not worry about injuries,” said Kraemer.

ABC6 spoke to Dr. Dina Morrissey with the Injury Prevention Program at Hasbro Children's Hospital about safety precautions people can take when out sledding.

“You want it to be clear. You don't want trees in the middle
or rocks or anything like that. And then it's important that there's a fairly
long run off at the end,” said Dr. Morrissey.

More than 20,000 people nationwide are sent to the emergency room each year from sledding. Deaths are rare. Broken bones and head injuries are more common. It's why many doctors recommend wearing a helmet.

“When I was a kid nobody wore a bike helmet, or a helmet
skiing and snow boarding. Now many, if not almost everyone, does. So it's
really just a change in culture, a change in attitude, a change in what you're
used to,” said Dr. Morrissey.

Additional sledding safety tips include:

  • Make sure the hill is an appropriate size for the age of the sledder
  • Only have one person per sled (unless the child is too young to go down the hill alone)
  • Sled in the daylight so you know what potential obstacles may be in your path
  • Select sleds that allow you to steer

The hill where the teen died is notorious for accidents. Later that same day a second person was taken to the hospital after crashing his sled.

The hill at Neutaconkanut Park remains closed. An orange fence blocks the entrance. At this time there are no plans to close additional parks to sledders.