EAU CLAIRE, Wis (WEAU) - Sledding is one of the most popular winter activities. But it can also be dangerous. According the CDC more than 20,000 kids are hurt every year sledding.
First responders say 50 percent of sledding accidents send kids to the Emergency room with head and neck injuries. You can protect yourself from injury though by remembering to watch your speed and know what’s around you.
"It's pretty, hard packed and moving fast today," Carina Nacewicz said.
Carina Nacewicz and her friend brought her kids to the park to slip and slide today.
“Mainly we didn't go up very high. I think that was the big part of it. The 8 year old actually decided she didn't need the sled because she went a little bit slower and I think she felt safer.” Carina Nacewicz said.
And that was exactly what she should have done. Eau Claire Fire Deputy Chief Scott Burkhart says like with any activity feeling safe and in control is the key to staying safe.
"Sledding should be appropriate to the age and maturity and skill level of the child,” said Burkhart.
The first thing you should do when you get to a hill is check to make sure your path is clear. Then always sled feet first.
“If you do go head first that may increase the likelihood of a traumatic injury so always slide with your feet first,” said Burkhart.
Burkhart also recommends kids wear a helmet. He says parents should treat sledding like biking. And that includes taking your kid out for some lessons before you let them slide.
“As an adult you should train your kid that as they are going down the hill and they start accelerate or have lost control of the sled to just roll off the sled and safely slow your self-down.
Burkhart also recommends kids not use the saucer sleds. He says while those sleds can be fun, they are more dangerous. He says young kids should use toboggans because they usually have reigns to help slow you down.