Sledding fun comes with increased risk for injury, doctors say

CINCINNATI — Snow means sledding season, and doctors say that also means an increased risk for injury.

Places like Sharon Woods are known for their superior sled-friendly slopes. Park Ranger Darryn Chenault said, on a typical snow day, Sharon Woods can expect hundreds of kids out sledding.

“Our hill here is the best,” he said. “It’s fast; kids love it.”

But Chenault said the fun shouldn’t come without attention to safety.

“We pretty much like everybody to go down standard with their feet first, to pay attention to their surroundings,” Chenault said. “That way, if they collide into anyone, they’ll go feet-first instead of head-first.”

Doctors at University of Cincinnati Medical Center told WCPO they’ve seen their fair share of sledding injuries, from cuts and scrapes all the way to sprains and even broken bones.

“People have ended up in the (Intensive Care Unit), had to have a breathing tube from striking their head,” UC physician Dr. Woods Curry told WCPO. “That’s why it’s incredibly important to protect your head.”

In 2014, more than 52,000 sledding-related injuries were reported, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

In addition to collisions, Curry said the cold presents another risk factor.

“Make sure you bundle up and keep warm,” he said. “Lots of layers and stay hydrated outside while you’re active.”

In the end, for Chenault, the goal is that kids can enjoy the snow that much more.

“Kids are just here to have fun, and we want to make sure they have fun.”

An earlier version of this story misspelled Darryn Chenault's name. It has been corrected.

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