Winter is here and with it, fresh snow in our backyards, school yards, and most importantly our local park hills. What were once grassy ridges will be transformed to thrilling sites for sledding and tobogganing. There are many designated hills in Ontario that are inspected regularly for safety, where people of all ages can gather and enjoy the crisp winter weather and share in the thrill of rushing down a slope, including nearly 30 parks in Toronto alone!
While tobogganing can be an exciting activity for the entire family, they do come with some risks, especially for our children. Tobogganing involves speed, heights and sometimes, uncertainty. Unsafe behaviour can lead to injuries for riders and onlookers. Some injuries may even be catastrophic.
Children are often admitted to hospital emergency departments for injuries ranging from sprains to more serious injuries like bone fractures or worse, traumatic brain injuries. Brain Injury Canada reported that sledding/tobogganing was among the most common sports and recreation-related activities with reported concussions or other Traumatic Brain Injuries for children aged five to nine.
However, there are several tips to prevent these injuries from occurring while still having fun on the slopes. Among them are:
- Check the Hill Ahead of Time
Ensure there are no hazards such as trees, rocks, fences, or bare spots, and to ensure there is plenty of space at the bottom of the hill to come to a safe stop.
- Check the Weather for Visibility
Avoid going to hills when visibility is poor such as in snowstorms or in the evening (without appropriate lighting in the area). Always make sure you can see other riders on the slopes.
- Wear a Helmet
While there are no bylaws or laws that require tobogganers to wear helmets, it is always prudent to wear head protection, especially for young children.
- Ensure You Have a Proper Toboggan
Make sure that your toboggan is secure, can support the rider, and can be steered appropriately if needed.
- Wear Proper Attire
Avoid wearing loose scarves, drawstrings, long ropes, or any loose clothing which could get caught on obstacles.
- Teach Children How to Maneuver and Stop Safely
Teach children to maneuver and brake safely before allowing them to go downhill independently. Always supervise your child when they are going downhill.
- Always Toboggan Feet First
Do not lie down on the toboggan headfirst. Avoid any potential head injuries by keeping your feet at the nose of the board and ensure that you can use your feet to stop yourself from going downhill.
- Slide Down the Middle of the Hill and Climb up the Sides
Make sure that you do not become an obstacle for other riders and prevent any collisions.
- Make Sure Your Route is Clear Before Sliding
Before going downhill, ensure that there are no other riders or obstacles blocking your path.
This winter season ensure that you and your loved ones remain safe as you enjoy the snow-covered hills. Be prepared with appropriate gear. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Most importantly, be courteous to other riders and onlookers enjoying the slopes. Remember, everyone has fun when everyone stays safe.
If you, or someone you love, has been seriously injured in a sledding or tobogganing accident, Campisi personal injury lawyers can help. Call us toll free at 855-351-1115.
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