Sledding Safety Tips and Tricks

Sled Safety reduces the risk of injury and allows everybody to make it home safe

Sledding is a great way to kill an afternoon on snowy days, have some fun with the family and get some outdoor winter exercise. I loved sledding as a kid, but now when I see 'B' pretending to have 'accidents' on the sledding hill we made in our front yard, I cringe to think of the possible dangers involved in sledding. Wiping out is fun, until somebody gets hurt.

According to a study published in the September 2010 issue of the journal Pediatrics, over 20,000 children and teen sledders visit the emergency room annually between 1997 and 2007. These injuries include scrapes, bruises and bumps, but 26% are fractures and 33% are head injuries, with many of those being serious brain trauma.

Today's sleds are designed to give your child the rush of flying down that hill at top speed. Some have great control and are properly designed to minimize injuries, but inner tubes and plastic saucers are based on 'pray as you go' technology. To keep it safe one general rule to follow is 'Be Aware of Your Surroundings'. Most injuries occur from high speed impact with an immovable object or another person/sledder, so its best to find a sledding hill that's wide open and has little or no obstructions.

Follow these sledding safety tips and tricks, and everybody will be sure to have a great time and make it home safe and sound:

  • Children should be supervised by a responsible adult while sledding.
    • Make sure someone has a cell phone to call 911 in case of an emergency.
    • Kids under 5 should have an adult sled with them.
    • Use your supervising time to teach proper sledding techniques
  • Protect your head!
    • Wear a helmet (you can even use a bike helmet)
    • Sledding head first greatly increases the risk of head injury.
    • Sit or lay on the sled with your feet facing downhill, your legs are better designed at absorbing impact than your head.
  • Wear eye protection.
    • Ski Goggles are designed to stay on your head when you fall
    • Sunglasses should be secured using a strap that fits snugly around the back of your head.
  • Injuries are serious
    • Take all injuries seriously until you can figure out the extent of the damage.
    • If somebody is seriously hurt or unconscious, especially with a head injury, call 911 immediately.
    • If the person cannot move on their own, minimize moving them until aid arrives.
      • Try to keep them warm.
      • Stay with them until help arrives.
    • Try to keep people a with head injury conscious.
    • Bring a first aid kit!
  • Make sure all participants know how to stop their sled.
    • Rolling off of a moving sled is the best way to dismount in an emergency.
  • Bring a shovel.
    • A shovel will help you pad some obstructions by shoveling loose snow in mounds around them.
    • If somebody is accidentally buried in snow, you'll have an efficient way of digging them out.
  • Proper dress makes the differenceThis person is creating a sledding hazard because their clothes blend into the sledding hill.
    • dress to stay dry, in layers under a water proof shell
    • thick gloves or mittens are crucial for keeping hands warm.
    • protective boots keep feet warm and help absorb impact.
    • Avoid scarves and othe loose clothing that could serious injury if they get snagged.
    • brightly colored clothes makes it easier for other people on the sledding hill to see you (avoid wearing white).
  • Have the right frame of mind
    • Don't sled while tired, sick, medicated or otherwise distracted
  • Scout the sledding area.
    • Choose a hill with a manageable slope and a long path.
    • Make Sure you can see your surroundings clearly.
      • Don't sled after dark or when visibility is bad due to fog, rain or snow.
    • Be aware of "No Trespassing" signs
      • It's always right to respect somebody else's property
    • Be aware that snow banks may hold hidden dangers like rocks or stumps or hydrants
    • Make sure the sledding path does not cross traffic or roadways
    • Assess the threat of hazardous obstacles like:
      • walls
      • large trees
      • trash bins
      • fences
      • rocks
      • picnic tables
      • telephone poles.
    • Make sure there is enough room to come to a stop!
    • How 'Hard' is the hill? Is the snow loose enough to absorb some impact?
      • check for ice or bare spots, and make a mental note of the spots to avoid
      • shovel loose snow on harder areas to soften the impact of falling on them.
    • Avoid sledding near bodies of water, like brooks, large puddles and ponds
      • Sledding time is over for the person who gets drenched!
  • Proper equipment handling
    • An overloaded sled is dangerous, if it's made for one person, use it that way.
    • Don't stand on a sled.
    • Don't use a broken sled
      • A cracked piece of plastic or a loose piece of metal can cause a lot damage of on a moving sled!
  • The sled should match the slope.
    • Inner tubes, saucers and snow disks are fast, not easy to handle and are great on a wide slope with a lot of room.
    • Straighter toboggan & rail type sleds are more maneuverable and are better for tighter trails where you need more control.
  • Be safe, polite and courteous
    • Wait your turn.
    • Show respect for younger children who may be near you.
    • Don't cut off others on the hill.
    • A moving sled has the right of way, stay out of their way.
    • Don't try to sled into another sledder or person.

Feb Fest at MIT Museum

Kids will have a blast at the MIT Museum during February Vacation Feb Fest!
Join MIT Museum for Feb Fest, an annual celebration during February school vacation week, with daily hands-on activities, workshops, and more.  Inspired by our exhibition Big Bang Data, this year’s theme is big data. Come for a fun filled week us for a fun-filled week.
Where: MIT Museum

February School Break Outdoor Ice Skating and More

February Vacation Outdoor Ice Skating Fun at MarketStreet Lynnfield
Since ice skating is the perfect winter activity, The MarketStreet Rink, presented by Lahey Health, expands its hours for President’s Day and February break. One of the best skating rinks in the region, The MarketStreet Rink is a classic 58 x 105 foot skating rink accented by a beautiful array of...

MarketStreet Lynnfield Outdoor Ice Skating

Outdoor Ice Skating Fun at MarketStreet Lynnfield
Lace up your skates and enjoy the beauty of the New England outdoors this winter season! From mid-November 2017 through February 2018, one of the most popular ice skating experiences in New England can be found at MarketStreet Lynnfield. The MarketStreet Rink offers public skating 7 days a week...

Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT

Minsky Arm, created by Marvin Minsky on display at the MIT Museum!
Robots and Beyond shares the results of decades of Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation at MIT. Explore the ideas that shaped AI and the birth of robotics, fields that are synonymous with research at MIT.
Where: MIT Museum

Women of Essex - Stories to Share

Come learn come great stories about the women of Essex Massachusetts at this FREE exhibit open through Winter 2018
Discover the interesting lives of women who lived in Essex! This exhibit – the first of its kind in Essex – expands our understanding of the women of Essex and the ways they have influenced our town and reflected the larger story of women’s history.
7:30 am to 3:30 pm

Vacation Break Camps at Glen Urquhart School

February Vacation Week Camps and Programs
Glen Urquhart School in Beverly MA is hosting a February Vacation Break Camp. Sign up to have your child join us at GUS for our Vacation Break Camps, Tuesday through Friday, February 20-23. FUN at GUS Preschool Program, age 3.5-5, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.  This program is designed especially for...
8:30 am to 5:30 pm

Adventure Days: Maple Sugaring

Learn how to harvest Maple Sap and convert it to Maple Syrup at IRWS!
Today we'll learn about one of nature's tastiest treats: maple syrup. We'll discover how to distinguish a sugar maple from all the other trees in the forest and tap one to collect the sap. After a visit to the sugarhouse, we'll know how sap is converted into syrup and try some on our very own...
8:30 am to 3:00 pm

Farmer for a Week: Kids in the Kitchen

Appleton Farm's Winter Explorers program is geared to children aged 7-11
In the winter, many people hunker down to stay warm, but at Appleton Farms, we make the most of the cold, quiet season. There is no better place to spend winter farm days than in the kitchen! This camp is for kids who love to cook, explore, and be adventurous in the kitchen, and out on the trails...
9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Farmer for a Week: Kids in the Kitchen

Appleton Farm's Kids in the Kitchen  program is geared to children aged 7-10
In the winter, many people hunker down to stay warm, but at Appleton Farms, we make the most of the cold, quiet season. There is no better place to spend winter farm days than in the kitchen! This camp is for kids who love to cook, explore, and be adventurous in the kitchen, and out on the trails...
9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Goddard School Touring Tuesday

Childcare, child care at Goddard School Middleton MA, Danvers MA, North Andover MA. infant, preschool, Pr
Touring Tuesday: Make a date to see Goddard School, Middleton, meet teachers and visit your child's next classroom! Infant, Toddler, Preschool,and Pre-Kindergarten programs. Please visit on Tuesday's to see why The Goddard School is "more than just a daycare".
9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Old School Yard Games

Kids can run and play in the wide open spaces of the Stevens-Coolidge Estate in North Andover
Start off your February vacation with a little competitive play. In this morning program, the Stevens-Coolidge Place will host three timeless outdoor games: capture the flag, scavenger hunt and red light/green light. So, get out your detective hats, lace up those winter boots and stretch those...
10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Public Skate and Learn to Skate at Peabody Skating Rink

Learn to Skate with the Peabody Skating Club at Peabody Skating Rink
The McVann-O'Keefe Skating Rink in Peabody is open for Public Skating weekdays from 10-11:45 am, Saturday's at 2 pm, and Sundays at 2:10 pm. Call today to ask about the Learn to Skate program at with the Peabody Skating Club. The ice is perfect. The Halloween and Christmas parties are a blast, and...
10:00 am to 11:45 am

XYZT: A Journey in 4 Dimensions at PEM - Salem

Peabody Essex Museum in Salem MA. Family friendly arts and culture North of Boston
Journey through nature and activate the senses as you explore mathematical paradoxes, typographical illusions and metaphors in motion in our new digital exhibition, XYZT: A Journey in 4 Dimensions, opening Saturday, October 14, 2017.
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Dog Friendly Shops at MarketStreet Lynnfield

Dog Friendly Shops and Restaurants at MarketStreet Lynnfield
Animal lovers will be glad to learn MarketStreet Lynnfield has over 40 shops and restaurants that are dog-friendly. Use #PupsOfMarketStreet on social media when you are there with your four-legged friend to get a free treat at PolkaDog Bakery. Enjoy!
10:00 am to 9:00 pm

MFA: Mark Rothko: Reflection

Museum of Fine Art Mark Rothko Exhibit
An immersive display of 11 masterpieces by Mark Rothko (1903–70), on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., invites visitors to contemplate the power of art to shape human experience. Opening on September 24, don’t miss “Mark Rothko: Reflection,” an immersive display of 11...
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Arts and Crafts for Little Ones with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh

Art Classes for children with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh
Certified Montessori teacher, artist and local mother, Colleen Apostolos-Marsh will guide your young artist in an exploration of color, shape, and texture. Using a variety of media, your child will be free to express their in a beautiful space while socializing and engaging in cooperative play.
10:15 am to 11:15 am

Sawyer Free LEGO Club

Come build using LEGOs at the Sawyer Free Library
Attend an afternoon of LEGOs in the Friend Room at Sawyer Free Library! Snacks and LEGOs are provided. Register online!
2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

Olympic Craft Session

Kids will learn to make an Olympic themed craft at the TOHP Burnham Public Library!
TOHP Burnham Public Library invites agse 5 and up for an Olympic Craft. Registration is not necessary, but if you plan to attend, we'd love to know in advance.
3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Wednesday, February 21

Feb Fest at MIT Museum

Kids will have a blast at the MIT Museum during February Vacation Feb Fest!
Join MIT Museum for Feb Fest, an annual celebration during February school vacation week, with daily hands-on activities, workshops, and more.  Inspired by our exhibition Big Bang Data, this year’s theme is big data. Come for a fun filled week us for a fun-filled week.
Where: MIT Museum

MarketStreet Lynnfield Outdoor Ice Skating

Outdoor Ice Skating Fun at MarketStreet Lynnfield
Lace up your skates and enjoy the beauty of the New England outdoors this winter season! From mid-November 2017 through February 2018, one of the most popular ice skating experiences in New England can be found at MarketStreet Lynnfield. The MarketStreet Rink offers public skating 7 days a week...

February School Break Outdoor Ice Skating and More

February Vacation Outdoor Ice Skating Fun at MarketStreet Lynnfield
Since ice skating is the perfect winter activity, The MarketStreet Rink, presented by Lahey Health, expands its hours for President’s Day and February break. One of the best skating rinks in the region, The MarketStreet Rink is a classic 58 x 105 foot skating rink accented by a beautiful array of...

Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT

Minsky Arm, created by Marvin Minsky on display at the MIT Museum!
Robots and Beyond shares the results of decades of Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation at MIT. Explore the ideas that shaped AI and the birth of robotics, fields that are synonymous with research at MIT.
Where: MIT Museum

Women of Essex - Stories to Share

Come learn come great stories about the women of Essex Massachusetts at this FREE exhibit open through Winter 2018
Discover the interesting lives of women who lived in Essex! This exhibit – the first of its kind in Essex – expands our understanding of the women of Essex and the ways they have influenced our town and reflected the larger story of women’s history.
7:30 am to 3:30 pm

Adventure Days: Winter Homes

Build igloos and learn how to find winter ohme for animals at IRWS's workshop
Can you imagine living outside through the entire winter? We'll explore the woodlands, wetlands, and field edges for nests, cavities, burrows, dens, and lodges to discover how birds, mammals, and insects find homes in this challenging season. We'll build an igloo or shelter and see how warm it can...
8:30 am to 3:00 pm

Vacation Break Camps at Glen Urquhart School

February Vacation Week Camps and Programs
Glen Urquhart School in Beverly MA is hosting a February Vacation Break Camp. Sign up to have your child join us at GUS for our Vacation Break Camps, Tuesday through Friday, February 20-23. FUN at GUS Preschool Program, age 3.5-5, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.  This program is designed especially for...
8:30 am to 5:30 pm

Farmer for a Week: Kids in the Kitchen

Appleton Farm's Winter Explorers program is geared to children aged 7-11
In the winter, many people hunker down to stay warm, but at Appleton Farms, we make the most of the cold, quiet season. There is no better place to spend winter farm days than in the kitchen! This camp is for kids who love to cook, explore, and be adventurous in the kitchen, and out on the trails...
9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Farmer for a Week: Kids in the Kitchen

Appleton Farm's Kids in the Kitchen  program is geared to children aged 7-10
In the winter, many people hunker down to stay warm, but at Appleton Farms, we make the most of the cold, quiet season. There is no better place to spend winter farm days than in the kitchen! This camp is for kids who love to cook, explore, and be adventurous in the kitchen, and out on the trails...
9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Cedar Point Trail | Winter Wander

The Cedar Point Trail at the Crane Estate winds through varied terrain to the be
An outdoor adventure for the whole family!  An easy rambling walk that will take us along the Cedar Point Trail to Steep Hill Beach with naturalists from The Trustees of Reservations. We’ll take note of how winter has changed the landscape, and how plants and animals adapt to survive this “dormant...
10:00 am to 12:00 pm