On a snowy day, sledding is the perfect way to keep kids happy and active. Given that sleds can reach up to 20-25 mph, it’s no wonder that thousands of kids end up in the emergency room each year from sledding injuries. Here’s some essential sledding safety guidelines.

Use A Sled

  • Cardboard boxes and garbage can lids can be pierced by objects on the ground
  • Sleds with runners and brakes and steering are better than saucers and toboggans – but teach your kids how to steer with their bodies and how to roll off the sled if they’re heading toward a collision.
  • Tubes could launch riders into the air – save those for the sledding parks at ski slopes

Avoid These Areas

  • A hill that opens to a street or parking lot
  • Hills with trees, benches, poles, rocks and bumps, fences and other obstacles
  • Water – stay clear of areas with ditches, creeks, and ponds


  • Dress for cold temperatures – including the wind-chill
  • Avoid sledding when the snow is icy – sleds can pick up speed and be difficult to stop
  • Head inside for breaks to warm up and avoid frostbite

Face Forward, Feet in Front

  • Forward-facing allows more control over the sled, and the ability see potential collisions in time to roll off


  • A bike, hockey or ski helmet can prevent concussions and serious head injuries
  • Ski goggles provide extra protection and aid vision on sunny days
  • Avoid scarves or drawstrings that can pose a strangulation risk

Sledding Etiquette and Safety

  • Before you go, make sure the hill is clear
  • Sled in the middle of the hill
  • Move out of the way quickly once you reach the bottom
  • Walk back up the hill in an area that’s clear of the sledding path

Property Owners

  • Never open your hill to the public
  • Post “No Trespassing” signs to avoid lawsuits and damages to your property
  • Ideally, anyone you invite to sled should sign liability waivers
  • Always provide supervision
  • Establish a no-exception policy for all sledding rules to keep everyone safe

If you have any questions about your liability risks, contact your Cole Harrison agent to review your homeowner’s policy to ensure you are protected with the right insurance coverage.

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