Dos and don’ts of sledding down a packed hill

It is important for parents to teach their kids safety before sending them down a sledding hill.

It is important for parents to teach their kids safety before sending them down a sledding hill.

The beloved, winter pastime activity of sledding finds its way into every winter, especially winters in Wisconsin.   As snow begins to pile on every hilltop in the state, the first thing children do, right out of bed, is beg and plead their parents to take them to the nearest hill to ride their new, shiny colorful sled. Everyone knows sleds move quite easily through snow and ice, but many forget to take certain precautions when controlling the young and turbulent minds of their dear children.

Of course sledding comes naturally to anyone; however, there are certain things one should know before riding.  This is a tip which many younger kids fail to recognize, or just choose to completely ignore.  Children have formed pictures in their minds of how one is supposed to attempt riding down a large hill.  They consider it to be a simple little push-off, and you are all set.  But this is obviously not correct or even safe in any way.  Many children also consider a large rock or bump in the hill as a fun obstacle and decide to just push themselves right over.  While that may be exciting, it won’t be long until you find yourself flipping through the air and realizing your sled had got caught on the lump 20 feet behind you.

You would think sledding down a hill would create a rush of excitement but not when you are about to get up and suddenly get knocked off your feet by a powerful, full- speed sled, evidently controlled by a six-year old.

Sledding is probably one of the first instances in which a young child learns how to “steer”, other than riding a bike.  Parents fail to teach their kids, therefore forcing them to learn on their own, most likely resulting in a dangerous collision of some sort.  It’s all fun and games, until someone gets hurt.

My advice for anyone sledding is to know where you are steering and what you plan to do when something gets out of control.  Crazy and chaotic little kids are forgetting that they are not the only ones wishing for an entertaining day of sledding.  Colliding with someone will immediately put a target on their backs and doom them from having any more fun.  Wiping out seems to be a main issue nowadays as well.  So, also learn how to correctly dress yourself when sledding.  There will probably be a ton of walking, diving, flipping, getting up, running out of the way, climbing, and jumping when on a sledding hill.  Who knows who will be right behind you and if you will need to take cover or not.