we're enjoying a glorious winter in minnesota, perfect for skating, skiing, and sliding: about a foot of snow, then an inch of icy sleet, followed by a couple more inches of powder. perfect. then this
, from the newspaper i've trusted since i was a wee sledder:A flurry of patients seriously injured in sledding accidents has prompted a safety warning by trauma officials at the Hennepin County Medical Center.
In particular, the Minneapolis trauma center has seen almost twice as many spinal injuries from sledding accidents this winter compared to last winter. Sledders can easily reach 15 to 20 miles per hour, and are particularly at risk on steep or icy hillsides. The prolonged snowy conditions over the past month have likely contributed to the rise in injuries.
"With several more winter months ahead, it's important for families to know that they can still enjoy this outdoor activity while minimizing the risk for injury," said Carla Cerra, a critical care nurse at HCMC. "Avoiding jumps, not piling too many people on one sled, and keeping alcohol out of the equation are just a few of the ways to stay safe when sledding."
HCMC also advises sledding on gentle slopes free of obstacles and supervision of children 12 and under. Warm, layered clothes can have the additional benefit of "cushioning" in the event of a tumble.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributes sledding to 11 percent of all recreational injuries in the country.
oh, my. i can imagine such an article being written in, say, the arizona republic,
but this is minnesota, where we either embrace the winter or perish. what's not to like?
1. steep and icy hillsides!
3. piling way too many people onto a sled!
5. no adult supervision!
as a sociologist, i'm supposed to be pro
-nanny state, but this article demonizes my cultural heritage. as a parent, i swelled with pride the first time my preschooler staggered to the house with a thunderbolt toboggan in one hand and a cute li'l chunk of his ear in the other. the same lad was out past midnight on saturday, sledding with his high school buddies in -- let's be honest about this -- the least
dangerous activity that 17-year-old girls and boys could possibly be pursuing.
to add insult to hard-earned winter injury, the pi-press
linked to a piece advising sledding helmets,
while warning against the evils of barreling down a hill headfirst.
what's a kid to do? stay in the basement and play video snowboarding? video games might compare with sledding down the "gentle slopes" advised in the article, but both are pale imitations of a reckless run down killer hill.