Safety tips for sledding, running in snow

CINCINNATI -- Cold weather doesn't mean you have to stay cooped up indoors. But if you're out getting exercise, experts have some tips to stay safe in the snow.

Sledding -- yes, sledding -- does count as exercise. 

RELATED: Tri-State's top 9 sledding hills

But it can be dangerous if you're not careful, as sleds can hit 20-25 mph on a steep hill. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, emergency rooms treat about 20,000 kids and teens for sled-related injuries each year.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has a few basic things you can do to stay safe:

  • Wear a helmet. You wouldn't ride a bike at 25 mph without a helmet, so why in the world would you do that on a sled?
  • Dress in layers. Bring kids inside if their clothes get wet, and watch for frostnip and frostbite. Symptoms of frostnip include white or blue-white skin, and it typically affects the face, feet or fingertips. Frostbite is literally the freezing of the skin. The skin can feel waxy, frozen and numb, and it can cause blisters.
  • Wear sunscreen. You can get a sunburn even in winter.
  • Make sure children have adult supervision while sledding.
  • Find a safe hill. Don't go barreling down a slope that ends in a street, parking lot, pond or wall.
  • Only use actual sleds for sledding. That means no cafeteria trays or cardboard boxes, because they can't be steered.

Runners are a notoriously dedicated bunch. But for first-timers, running in snow can be intimidating.

Meredith Rairden and Kate Parker, with Fleet Feet Sports, led runners Saturday as they trained for the Flying Pig Marathon. Rairden and Parker recommend dressing in light layers and taking your time.

"It's a little bit dangerous out. We're going to tell people to take it a little bit slower," Rairden said.

They also said runners should take time to stretch and warm up beforehand, and use foam muscle rollers afterward. That should help with sore muscles, as your stride is a bit different in snow.

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