Children younger than 12 should wear helmets, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends. Bicycle helmets are a good option
Skidding, sliding and skipping down the slope is the point, of course, but remember that what goes down must also go up to go down again. Avoid over-exertion and take an occasional break. Bring snacks and bottles of water.
Whether the decision to head for the sledding hill is spontaneous or planned, wear appropriate clothing. It should be water- and wind-resistant. Dress in layers. Goggles or safety glasses provide eye protection.
During any outdoor winter activity that involves exercise, avoid cotton fabrics, including jeans. Among winter sports fans, cotton is called “the death fabric” because once it’s wet, it provides no warmth. Hypothermia and frostbite are the most common cold-related injuries, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caution.
Clothing specifically designed for winter sports is safer, more comfortable, and will contribute to the enjoyment of the experience. Shivering around a fire pit or huddled in a vehicle with the heater cranked to super-nova will only spoil the fun.
When not using a designated sled slope, be aware of your surroundings. Never sled in an area that ends at a street. Never use a railroad embankment for sledding. It’s dangerous and it’s trespassing.