Detroit (WWJ) Since 2007, 30 pediatric patients have been admitted to Mott for injuries sustained while sledding.  This year, with several weeks of winter remaining, the number of sledding related admissions has doubled over previous years.

“There’s a lot of discussion nationally about recommendations for helmet use while sledding,” says Mott’s Injury Prevention Program Manager Amy Teddy. “We can say with certainty that the severity of injuries would have been reduced in all of these incidents if kids had been wearing a helmet at the time.”

Patients have been brought in from all around the state for injuries involving a young person sledding and slamming into a fixed object – a light pole, rocks and trees – they are very common.

“Some injuries involve a child being pulled behind a four-wheeler or a snowmobile,” Teddy says. “Sledding is something that people don’t tend to associate with helmets. But if you are doing something that involves moving at a high rate of speed, you should wear a helmet.”

Mark S. Molitor, Jr., M.D., a pediatric trauma clinical lecturer at U-M’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital says most people don’t think of sledding as an activity that requires a helmet.

“People think of it as going out to have some fun in the snow, sled down a hill,” says Molitor.

“They don’t think of wearing a helmet when in fact most injuries we see are from people sledding at high rates of speed, losing control and hitting a fixed object.”

Facts about winter sports injuries:

  • Children ages 14 and under are at a high risk for winter sports injuries.
  • In 2007, 24,500 estimated injuries from sledding across the U.S.

Tips to keep your kids safe during sledding:

  • Kids can suffer serious head injuries from sledding, and should always wear a helmet.
  • When sledding, do not go down a hill head-first. Sit up, face forward, use a clear, safe path and make sure an adult is supervising.
  • A safe sledding hill does not lead to a street, a body of water or a crowded gathering place. Tips provided by Safe Kids Coalition at

Written by Margarita Bauza Wagerson.

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