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For most of us, winter is already upon us with plenty of snow to send the kids to the neighborhood sledding hills. They will speed down a straight path or take a different approach as they spin 360 degrees in a round plastic sled. Unfortunately, a yearly winter event of fun and laughter can easily turn into a devastating event with life-long consequences.

A recent study, published in the September issue of the medical journal Pediatrics, found that more than 20,000 children nationwide in any given year suffered injuries serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. The risks with sledding are that there is really no protection between you and any obstacles. Slightly more than half of all sledding collisions were with objects or other sleds. More serious injuries, such as TBIs were more likely when sledding on a street rather than grass-covered hill.

To reduce the risk of injury this winter season, sled only in areas that are clear of trees and other obstacles. Make sure you have a sufficient run-out area away from the road to avoid a collision with cars. The safest way to sled is sitting with fee first. When kids sled on their bellies with their head-first, it puts your head at a great risk of injury. Who wants their head to be a bumper to help them stop? It is like getting hit while driving a bumper car at the amusement park.

Follow are tips from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons to prevent injuries while sledding:

  • Adults should always supervise children while they are sledding.
  • Make sure the hill is safe: that means a hill without obstacles in the sledding path, which doesn’t end near a street, parking lot, pond, or other danger.
  • Take time to avoid collisions.
  • Children under age 12 should wear a fitted helmet while sledding.
  • Never go down a hill headfirst; sit facing forward and steer.
  • Use a sled that can steer—it’s safer than flat sheets, toboggans or snow discs.
  • If you want to go sledding in the evening, make sure the area is well lit.
  • Wear warm and layered clothing to protect from injuries and the cold

Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association as well as their ABA Advisory Committee, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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