Sledding Safety and Frostbite Tips

Here are some sledding and frostbite tips for you and the kids on a cold, snowy day.  If you are looking for outdoor activities when the schools are closed, you have come to the right place.


Doesn’t this look like fun (sledding at Val Bialas in New York) and DANGEROUS!

Click here for a list of local sledding hills recommended by other Washington moms!

    Remember the winters when you were a child? You would wake in the morning and dash to the window wishing that snow had fallen. At the first flake, you would be hoping enough snow would fall. When mom and dad finally gave you the nod, you would race to bring out your sled.

    Sledding is a winter sport that can be enjoyed by all ages. Racing down a hill together can be a family experience that will bring treasured memories, or you can enjoy sledding with a companion your own age. It’s also fun for spectators who can enjoy the scenery and guard the thermos of hot chocolate.

    Finding a good hill is of great importance. You want to make sure you have a good slope, but not too steep, and with no trees in your path. There should be an even covering of snow. The hill should be well away from streets.

    Before heading out, be sure you are dressed for the weather in warm, protective clothing and that you will be sledding in daylight, not in the dark.

     * Kids should wear a helmet and sled only when an adult is present.

     * Stay away from frozen lakes and ponds where the ice may be unstable.

  * Don’t sled headfirst. It increases the chance of head injury.

  * Never have the sled pulled by a car. It’s a dangerous practice.

 * Do not attempt to sled on plastic sheets. They are easily torn by obstructions under the snow and can result in injury.

    For additional safety tips check out the National Safety Council’s tips for Safer Sledding and Tobogganing at

Frostbite: Symptoms & Prevention

Frostbite is skin damage, temporary or permanent, caused by prolonged exposure to temperatures of 23 degrees F and below.

There are different degrees of frostbite. Frostnip is a superficial freezing of the outer layer of the skin but does cause permanent damage. Deep frostbite has a stronger chance of being permanent depending on the length of exposure and the extent of frozen tissue. The places on the skin that are most vulnerable are the tip of the nose, ears, fingertips and toes.

Symptoms include:

  • Numbness
  • Stinging
  • Severe Pain
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • Skin looking white, grayish yellow, red, purple or black depending on the severity

Those more susceptible to frostbite include:

  • Very young children
  • The elderly
  • Diabetes patients and those with conditions associated with impaired circulation
  • Those with heart conditions
  • People taking beta-blockers
  • Smokers
  • Those who drink while exposed to the cold weather

Prevention Tips:

  • Check the forecast before planning any outdoor activity in cold weather
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Go inside when feeling too cold
  • Apply skin moisturizer to any exposed skin
  • Stay out of the wind as much as possible
  • Wear dry, warm and layered clothing
  • Wear mittens instead of gloves since mittens provide more protection than gloves.
  • Don’t smoke or drink before/during cold weather exposure

    For more information on how to keep your kids active in the winter time, click here!

    For area Ice Rinks click here!


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