Objectives—(1) To describe the characteristics of sledding injuries presenting to a pediatric emergency department and (2) To describe the sledding environment that leads to childhood sledding injuries.
Setting—A pediatric hospital emergency department in Ottawa, Canada and identified sledding sites in the region.
Methods—All patients less than 18 years with sled related injuries were included. Questionnaires were completed gathering information on the sled operator, the sled, the sledding site, and the injury. Site visits were made to designated and non-designated sledding hills in the Ottawa region to record data regarding sled operators, sleds, and the sledding environment.
Results—Ninety five patients were identified with sledding injuries and 81 (85%) completed the questionnaire. The mean age was 9.9 years (range 8 months to 17 years). The majority were male (63%). Most injuries occurred on non-designated sledding hills in the community (70%). Mild to moderate injuries were most common, however nine patients (11%) were admitted to hospital. Fifty one per cent had adult supervision at the time of injury compared with 86% observed at the site visits. Common mechanisms of injuries were collisions with objects (33%), falls in icy conditions (28%), and going off jumps (16%). Most serious injuries occurred with contact with motor vehicles. There was no relationship between the type of sled used and the likelihood of injury.
Conclusions—Sledding hills which have obstacles, icy conditions, jumps, or proximity to roads may result in more childhood injuries. Children with no adult supervision are likely at higher risk of injury.
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