EMSA urging safety for kids sledding in record low temperatures

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The hill at Douglas Park is filled with sleds of all kinds including tire sleds, snow scooters and the traditional toboggan sled as families have a little fun in the snow.

Jacob Reeves said,  “I came here when I was a kid. And I’m living vicariously through them now and actually going to take a couple of runs down the hill myself."

However, officials say something as innocent as sledding can turn into a serious injury.

EMSA expects at least one to two sledding injuries a year in Oklahoma City alone.sledding

Tony McCarty, manager at EMSA, said, “If you look at most of these sleds, they’re not controllable about direction. They’re going to go wherever it wants to go, not where the person wants it to go."

Also, functional fashion is key to keeping the kiddos safe.

McCarty said, “They need to be sure their kids are in ski pants. Something waterproof, something warm; their hands, their ears.”

Even bundled up in long johns and waterproof outer layers, the sub-zero temperatures can make class seem like a cake walk.

Areta Carr said, “My toes are ice cubes right now. When I’m at school, my toes aren’t ice cubes, they’re warm."

McCarty said,  “It’s time for the kids to have fun and, you know, school’s out. Let’s enjoy it but let’s be safe. I mean 20,000 kids a year nationwide are injured in sledding accidents."

They are asking parents to remind their children of these safety tips before they head out.

Make sure the hill--and the space at the bottom of it--is completely clear of trees, fences, utility poles, and other obstacles. The vast majority of injuries are caused by collisions.  In fact, fractures are twice as  likely to result from banging into something than from falling off the  sled.

Consider a helmet. The head was the most common area  of the body to get hurt--accounting for 34 percent of all sledding  injuries. A helmet is a must. : If  your child wears one for snowboarding, biking, and skateboarding, why  not sledding, too?

Only one person per sled, please-- unless  the one you're riding on was actually designed for two. If you've got a  mass of kids clinging to one sled, the odds of someone getting thrown  off, bumped, or worse go way up.

Take turns!  The more  people you have jetting down the same hill at once, the greater the  chance of colliding with one of them--and that can be just as harmful as  running into a tree.

Get out of the way.  Make sure your child knows that once his run is done, he should quickly  move to the side, out of the other sledder’s  way. Ideally, there will be  one side of the hill for sledding down and another side for trudging  back up.

Don't rev up the experience. It is pretty  surprising how many kids were out on sleds being pulled by a snowmobile  or ATV.  And that scenario accounted for a lot of cases in the emergency room.

Bundle the kids up in warm water-proof layers:  Make sure your child is dressed appropriately and hydrated.  Parents, check on your kids as they sled.  Supervise!  Make sure they’re safe, warm and dry.

Keep your cell phone charged and with you at all times. Should you be involved in a crash or incident or see one, please call 911 immediately.

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