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Released: January 17, 2003

K-State Specialist Offers Tips For Sledding Safety

MANHATTAN, Kan. Ė Itís winter in Kansas and though parts of the state havenít yet experienced measurable snowfall, the chances are that they will see snow before spring.

To many, a good snowfall means a day of sledding. Sledding equipment available at many retail stores ranges from toboggans to snow disks. For the sake of rider safety, each type of sled is designed to be used in a certain position Ė either lying down or sitting upright, reminds John Slocombe, Kansas State University Extension farm safety specialist. To help keep snow play safe, he offered these simple tips:

* Insist that children wear a bicycle helmet for sledding. In addition, wear thick gloves or mittens and warm, waterproof boots.

* Sledders should ride lying down with feet in front. If you sled downhill head first, you greatly increase the risk of head injury. Snow disks and plastic sliders are designed for the rider to sit upright. No one should ever ride while standing up.

* Children ages 5 to 9 are most susceptible to sledding injuries. Parents of young children should not let them sled alone.

* Make sure the sledding path is free of hazards such as trees, fences, rocks, wire, or bare spots, and does not cross a road. Teach older children to check for these hazards.

* Only sled during daylight hours.

* Do not sled on icy hills. The hills should be snow-covered.

* NEVER hitch a sled behind a moving vehicle. The results can be deadly.

* Watch for the symptoms of cold weather illnesses such as hypothermia and frostbite.

Symptoms of hypothermia include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Warning signs of frostbite include gray, white or yellow skin discoloration. Both are serious, so if any of these conditions are present, seek medical attention immediately.

Most of all, be mindful of potential hazards when sledding and use common sense. Then enjoy the snow.

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K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by:
Kerri Ebert, Communications Assistant
kebert@ksu.edu
K-State Research& Extension News

Additional Information:
Kerri Ebert is at 785-532-2976