There's something missing in this photograph? Even though the kids are obviously happy and it's great to see them outdoors and playing with their friends, the photo represents an accident waiting to happen. Why? Because the kids are not wearing safety helmets. Unfortunately this is typically the norm. Even though helmets are now fairly common on ski slopes, bike trails and skating rinks, the use of them on tobogganing hills is almost non-existent! One of my favourite winter sports as a child was tobogganing. Racing to the top of the snowy hill and then rocketing down at full speed was exhilarating! Of course, tobogganing was even more thrilling when we build ramps and became airborne. But this sport can be dangerous. Did you know there are more head injuries tobogganing than there are while skiing and snowboarding? Today, tobogganing accidents are far too common. Here are the facts: Statistics show that every year in Ontario at least one person dies from tobogganing. The last study done for the Canadian Hospitals Injury and Reporting Program measured sledding accidents between November 1994 and April 1995. It discovered a surprising total of 806 accidents across the country that year, with the vast majority happening to those between the ages of 10 and 14 years old. More than half of all the injuries reported were boys. Most of the mishaps (nearly 60 percent) occurred in parks, while just a few took place in backyards, schools, or public places like roads or footpaths. What were the most common injuries and how did they happen? According to Health Canada, the breakdown reads this way: 40.1%: Fell to the ground while sliding 32.6%: Collided with an obstacle (tree, rock, wall, snow bank etc.) 15.3%: Hit another person 7.3%: Getting body part stuck in sled 2.4%: Sliding into street/river 1%: Injured while pulling or carrying toboggan I am certainly not advocating for an end to tobogganing. In fact, I still think it’s one of the most affordable and fun outdoor family activities. What I am trying to encourage is:
- Parents please assess the area before your child starts tobogganing. Are there any trees, fences or snowmaking equipment (usually found on ski slopes) that could cause serious injuries if your child hit them?
- Encourage children to wait their turn before heading down the slope.
- Insist that kids walk back up the tobogganing run along the sides of the hill NOT in the middle of the run.
- Most importantly, please make sure your child is wearing a skate, ski or snowboard helmet. Unfortunately, bike helmets will not properly protect your child’s head in a tobogganing accident.
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- Tags: Brain Injuries, Children, Exercise, Family, General, Helmets, Kids, Mothers Against Naked Riding Campaign, Parenting, Safety, Sports, Tobogganing