Taking your toddler sledding can be so much fun not only for the child but also for the parent as well.
Kids have been going sledding for many, many years but even though this is such a fun pastime for kids and adults, sledding can lead to injuries. In fact, sledding can lead to some pretty serious injuries such as broken bones and concussions.
But, that shouldn’t stop you from taking your child sledding this winter time. You just need to make sure you take the proper precautions and follow these safety tips to ensure your child not only has fun but stays safe and healthy as well.
(These tips should be followed for all kids and not just toddlers)
1. Dress Your Child Properly for the Weather
If there is enough snow on the ground to go sledding, then it most likely is somewhere around freezing or even below. That means your little one needs to be bundled up properly to protect his skin from the weather elements.
Frostbite as well as hypothermia are real threats for a young child when sledding. Parents should take caution to make sure they have plenty of warm layers on as well as cold weather accessories. Things like nice warm and waterproof mittens or gloves as well as a knit hat that covers their ears should be a must when sledding.
The jacket they wear should be waterproof as well and warm enough to block out the wind and most of the cold. You may also want to buy your toddler snow pants and snow boots to help keep them dry as well.
One thing you should avoid wearing are scarves as you don’t want a scarf to get caught under the sled and be a safety hazard. If you really feel that your child needs a scarf make sure the ends are tucked into the coat and not hanging out at any time. You may also want to consider a hat that covers your face and neck as well instead of a scarf.
2. Choose the Right Sledding Hill
You definitely wouldn’t want to take your toddler down a hill that is too steep or has trees in the area. Instead look for a gentle hill that allows for plenty of area at the bottom for stopping.
Avoid any hill that ends right by a parking lot or street. That also includes things like trees, fences, and ponds.
Lastly, look for a hill that is snow covered instead of icy. Icy hills make it a lot more dangerous and kids can easily fall off when you are going too fast down the ice.
Remember that you can always start your toddler out on a short, gentle sloping hill and if you feel secure you work your way up to bigger hills as he gets older.
3. Choose the Right Sled for Your Toddler
Be sure to choose the best sled for your toddler depending on if he will be riding solo or if you plan on taking the slopes with him.
When it comes to younger children you may want to consider sleds that have backs on them as well as handles or at least a rope so you can easily pull your little one along.
Never use an item that wasn’t designed for sledding such as a garbage can lid or a piece of cardboard. You can find plenty of great sleds for toddlers that don’t cost that much money and it’s a lot safer to use the proper equipment.
4. Never Pull Your Child with a Moving Vehicle
Some parents may think this sound silly, but our family has been sledding every year for quite some time now and every year we see snowmobiles and ATVs pulling kids on sleds.
It may look like a lot of fun, but it’s not safe at all even if you are not going very fast. The child doesn’t have control of the sled and the person on the snowmobile may take too sharp of turns or have to suddenly stop, which can easily injure the sled rider.
5. Know When It Is Time to Head Inside
Most of the time you will find that toddlers and young kids won’t last as long as most adults outside in the cold. Be sure that you are keeping a close eye on them to see how cold and wet they are getting and when it is time to head inside for some hot cocoa instead.
Don’t get frustrated with your child if they only last 5-10 minutes on the sled and then want to go inside. Remember they have a lot littler bodies and are still very young.
Sled riding with your kids can be a lot of fun but the last thing you want to happen is for someone to get injured. Follow these safety tips to dramatically lessen the occurrence of injuries when sledding with your child and your whole family can have some winter time fun together.