Sledding is a fun winter activity for kids to participate in. Although sledding is fun, it can also be dangerous, especially if the conditions are bad, they aren’t wearing the correct attire, or the children aren’t old enough. At what age can kids start going sledding, then?
Kids can sled by themselves with supervision at 6 years old and up. Children 5 and under can start sledding with an adult, but it’s risky since kids this young are easily injured. All children should wear helmets, use safe sleds, and sled during ideal conditions to help prevent accidents.
This article will go over the age at which children can go sledding. It will also go over the best attire, sled features, and weather conditions for safe sledding.
At What Age Can a Child Go Sledding?
Children 5 and under can go sledding if they are on the sled with an adult. However, it is risky for kids this young to go sledding as they have a higher risk of injury. So, parents should proceed with caution.
Kids can start sledding by themselves at 6 years old. A responsible adult should always supervise children between the ages of 6-12 while they are sledding.
Can a 1 Year Old Go Sledding?
It is generally considered to be unsafe for 1-year-olds to go sledding. Children this young are unable to hold onto the sled properly. Additionally, adults sledding with children; this young can unintentionally crush or injure them during the ride. While some parents choose to bring their 1-year-olds sledding with them, it may be unwise.
Some parents introduce their young babies to sledding with pull sleds. Pull sleds are small sleds that parents can tow their children around on flat surfaces. This is a safer way for young children to experience “sledding” without taking them down an actual hill.
One popular pull sled is the Kids’ Pull Sled (link to Amazon). This comfy sled is built to last. It is made with a hardwood frame and water-repellent material, making it perfect for all of your winter outings!
Should Kids Wear Helmets Sledding?
All children who are 12-years-old or younger should wear helmets while sledding. This will help protect them if they fall or run into something. Especially on steep inclines.
I’ve never worn a helmet sledding, but it is recommended.
While some kids use bike or skateboarding helmets for sledding, it is recommended that children wear helmets specifically designed for winter sports, as these offer better protection.
Parents need to make sure that their children’s helmets fit them properly. If a helmet is too big, it may not prevent injury if an accident occurs.
Helmets that fit properly should end approximately two to three finger-widths above the child’s eyebrows. The “Y” part of the helmet’s straps should fall right below the child’s ears.
What Else Should Kids Wear While Sledding?
Other than a helmet, children need to wear the proper clothing to have a comfortable (and safe) sledding experience.
- Layers. Children should wear lots of layers while sledding. The outermost layer should be waterproof to protect them from the snow. They should wear at least one to two additional layers underneath their outer coat, depending on how cold it is outside. The innermost layer should be something thin that isn’t made of cotton, so it won’t hold sweat.
- Waterproof pants. Kids also need to wear long waterproof pants such as ski pants while sledding to protect their legs from the snow. Additional items they’ll need include hats, neck warmers, and mittens. They should never wear scarfs or any other loose clothing articles while sledding since they can get trapped underneath the sled and cause injuries.
- Appropriate footwear. Kids should wear thick socks and waterproof boots. If their boots aren’t waterproof, the snow can quickly soak through their shoes into their socks and reach their feet. Their boots should also have good traction so they won’t be slipping and sliding as they try to walk up the sledding hills!
If kids’ clothing becomes wet while sledding, parents should remove the wet articles immediately since the wetness can cause hypothermia.
What Kind of Sled Should Kids Use?
It’s important for kids to use sleds that have steering mechanisms, brakes, and handles. These kinds of sleds are safest since they allow kids to slow themselves down and avoid obstacles.
Kids should not use tubes, snow discs, or anything not intended to be used as a sled (like trash can lids, tarps, cookie trays, etc.) for sledding. It is also unwise to use sleds that are cracked, have splinters, or any other problems that can cause injuries.
Parents should not allow their children to ride in sleds that are being pulled by automobiles of any kind, including cars and snowmobiles. This is just an accident waiting to happen!
Where Should Kids Go Sledding?
Kids should be taken to a safe spot to go sledding. Safe sledding locations have the following features:
- The hill shouldn’t be too steep. There should also be a flat area at the bottom of the hill so kids can easily glide to a stop.
- Make sure the sledding hills aren’t close to anything dangerous, such as busy streets, fences, ponds, or parking lots.
- The sledding hill should be smooth and without obstacles. Make sure it doesn’t have anything dangerous that the children can collide into, such as trees, rocks, or other dangerous objects.
- Kids shouldn’t sled on extremely busy hills. The more people on the hill, the greater the chance an accident will occur.
- The sledding hill should have at least a few inches of snow on it.
What Sledding Conditions Are Safe?
Make sure to check the weather forecast before sledding. The temperature outside should be at least -2.2 °F (-19 °C). Anything below this is just too cold!
If it’s an especially windy day, parents shouldn’t take their children sledding. The wind chill can make the temperature feel much colder than it really is, making everyone feel extremely uncomfortable.
It’s best to go sledding when there is a good amount of snow on the hill. Do not let children go sledding on icy hills. Ice is more dangerous since sleds can go faster and are more difficult to control. Also, ice is solid and can hurt kids if they fall on it. Always check beneath the snow to make sure there’s no ice underneath.
Always go sledding during the day. It’s harder for parents to supervise their children at night, and it’s more difficult for sledders to see where they are going. If it’s daytime, but there is poor visibility, sledding is also not advised. Sledders should be able to see at least 5-6 ft (1.5-1.8 m) in front of them as they are going down the hill.
Sledding is a fun winter activity for kids. Kids 6 and up are able to sled by themselves with adult supervision. Kids 5 and under can go sledding with an adult on board. However, young kids, especially infants and toddlers, can be easily injured while sledding, so caution is advised.
If parents don’t want to take their young ones down a sledding hill, they can tow them around in a pull sled instead. This is a safer option that still allows young kids to participate in the sledding experience.
If parents choose to take their children sledding, they need to make sure their kids are in the proper attire, they are using a sled with steering and brake functions, and the weather conditions are optimal. This will help prevent injury and keep their kids safe.
I hope this article helps to keep your children safe while they’re sledding!