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Study Examines Sledding Injuries in Children


Sledding is a popular winter activity for children and adults, but many are unaware of the dangers associated with it, according to a study in the September 2010 print issue of Pediatrics.

The study, “Pediatric and Adolescent Sledding-Related Injuries Treated in U.S. Emergency Departments in 1997-2007,” published online August 23, determined that an estimated 229,023 patients 19 years of age and younger were treated for sledding-related injuries in U.S. emergency departments, with an average of 20,820 cases per year. Children ages 10 to 14 years sustained 42.5 percent of sledding-related injuries, and boys represented 59.8 percent of all cases. The most frequent injury diagnoses were fractures (26.3 percent) followed by contusions and abrasions (25.0 percent). The head was the most commonly injured body part (34.1 percent), and injuries to the head were twice as likely to occur as a result of a collision rather than by falls, jumps, or flips. Traumatic brain injuries were more likely to occur with snow tubes than with other sled types. A total of 4.1 percent of all cases required hospitalization.

More research on the prevention of sledding-related injuries is warranted, particularly regarding the impact of helmets in reducing injury rates. Study authors suggest the use of sledding products that may reduce visibility (such as snow tubes) should be discouraged.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit