Children love it, most adults too. Sledding is the winter fun par excellence. The good thing about it: you do not have to be exceptionally fit or have the technical skills you need to ride a sled down the mountain. Some body tension and driving skill are enough.

You do not necessarily have to go skiing for a sled. Just a little snow in your home country is enough for a funny sleigh ride. If you like the more demanding: artificial ice rinks and summer toboggan runs are real challenges.

Fitness factor while sledding low

Apart from the fact that you have to pull the sled up the mountain again and again, in case of doubt with one or the other tired child on it, tobogganing is not a big challenge for the physical fitness. Accordingly, the training effect for strength and endurance is vanishing low. When it comes to fun sledding is hard to beat. Conclusion: The only parts of the body that are more stressed when sledging than usual, are the laughing muscles.

Waterproof and warm clothes essential

Whether you rather go with a wooden sled or a plastic bob depends entirely on your own preferences and the snow conditions. It is only important that the mobile pedestal is stable. As experience has shown that when tobogganing has a lot of contact with the snow, waterproof and warm clothing is essential. In addition, solid shoes with a decent profile and solid gloves are part of the equipment.

Sledding without accident

Since collisions can never be completely avoided, bruises and broken bones while tobogganing are unfortunately not uncommon. It only helps to throttle speed and drive ahead. A goggle protects against spattering stones. For steeper slopes children should wear a helmet.

Tips for young sledders

So that the winter dream does not become a nightmare, the German federal working group "Mehr Sicherheit für Kinder eV" and its Austrian partner organization "Grosse protect Kleine" have put together tips. This avoids serious accidents when sledding:

  • Tested safety: Only buy toboggan with the TÜV seal or the GS mark for tested safety. Also make sure that the toboggan can be steered well.
  • Head protection: A bicycle or ski helmet protects against falls.
  • Safe slope:
    • Make sure that the toboggan run is not too steep and wide enough to avoid dodging. Especially smaller children should only sled in safe terrain, that is, where there are only gentle gradients, a sufficient width and a generous spout.
    • Make sure that there are no fixed obstacles in the toboggan area or in the outlet.
    • Never toboggan on roads and paths that cross roads. When you collide with a car, the risk of fatal injury is very high.
  • Sledge control: Often, smaller children on the hard-bobed bob are unable to dodge obstacles early or slow down the bobsleigh in spite of brake claws and steering. Therefore, let smaller children sledge on their own only if they can steer and brake safely.
  • Snow: The snowpack should not be frozen. On icy surfaces the speed increases in an incalculable way and the accident risk increases.
  • Tobogganing Position: Never sling belly down and sling head first. Ideal is an upright sitting position with slightly tilted back upper body. This makes it easier to steer and brake and reduces the risk of a head injury.

The main cause of accidents are driving errors even in older children. Teenagers love speedy rides, often using forest roads for tobogganing. Due to the higher speed and limited terrain, driving errors can lead to serious collisions with fixed obstacles in a fall into the forest. Talk to adolescents about these dangers, too much risk taking and prudent behavior.

And last but not least: Lead by example!

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