Choose snowy hills, free of ice with a gentle slope and long run off area. Be sure the hill is free of bumps, holes and obstacles such as trees, signs, fences and rocks. Stay away from roads, rivers, railways and parking lots. Only sled in the daylight or on well-lit hills and to reduce the risk of hypothermia and frostbite, don't go out below -19°C.
Go down the hill sitting up or kneeling, never head first or standing up. Be sure the path the clear, and if you fall off the sled quickly move out of the way.
Dress properly with hats, mittens or gloves and warm waterproof footwear. Don't forget your helmet. A good CSA approved bike or ski helmet (designed for high impact collisions) is your best choice. Do not wear scarves or clothes with drawstrings as they can get caught up in the sleds.
And finally, Check out the Supervision: Children under 12 should be supervised, and children under 5 should have a responsible adult on the sled with them. Grab a toboggan, inner tube or sleigh, and head for the hills! And always remember, helmets on heads!
Carol Beringer is the Kids Safe Coordinator at the Alberta Children's Hospital
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