Snow Injury Tip Sheet
The recommendation from Johns Hopkins Hospital, the level 1 trauma center for the state of Maryland Play but play safely!
- According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in the year 2000, thousands of injuries were treated in hospitals, doctors' offices, ambulatory surgery centers, clinics and costs billions of dollars in medical bills and lost income.
- As a trauma center, we care for the most severe kids, and many of the children we have treated have had major head injuries – ranging from skull fractures to brain bleeds. Esp. true for our older kids!
- Approximately 40 injuries seen by JHH trauma service over the last 5 years
- Sledding may cause head injuries in young children, while older children and adults have more extremity injuries. Other injuries can include contusions, abrasions and abdominal injuries, musculoskelatal injuries
- Parental supervision is key.
- Warm up properly – spend a few minutes stretching your hamstrings, thigh muscles, hips and calves before and after any strenuous activity
- Make sure your child's clothes stay dry. If they become wet, change your child into a dry clothes.
- Wear adequate clothing, preferably in layers. Don’t forget good quality sunglasses, goggles and sunscreen.
- Recognize when you need a rest
- Never consume alcohol or other mood altering drugs
- Never, ever, play on the back of a moving vehicle
Know your equipment!
- Wear a protective helmet. While some may consider them “uncool” there is nothing cool about sustaining a head injury. Ideally, any helmet should comply with one of the American standards (Snell RS98 or ASTM F2040) or the European standard EN1077. This indicates that it has passed certain standards
- Have your own equipment checked regularly
- Longer skis are more difficult to turn and bindings set too high for your ability are more likely to cause injury
- Boots should fit snugly without your ankle moving around inside
- Follow manufacturer guidelines regarding the number of people on a sled
Know your abilities!
- Don’t be tempted to skip professional instruction - injuries are common in beginners
- Ski or snowboard with a friend (Always stay in sight of each other in case of an emergency. The ideal number of people to ski with is three, one to stay with the injured person and one to go for help)
- If you are tired, rest (most injuries occur towards the end of the day)
- Know your limitations. Match the difficulty of the run to your abilities
- Children can lose control of their sleds and hit a tree or another object, or even another child. After falling off of a sled, additional injuries can occur when a child's body suddenly hits the snow.
Know your environment! - Sledding on or into the roadway should be prohibited. Look for shallow slopes that are free of obstacles such as trees and fences, many children sled into street and get hit by a car
- Be aware of snow conditions. Get the weather report
- Sled in designated areas that are free from trees and other immobile objects
- Avoid sledding on icy surfaces.
- Never sleigh near or in crowded areas, children often cannot steer the sled.