With fewer activity options than maybe ever in the city of Montreal, the Montreal's Children's Hospital Trauma Centre is reporting "a record high number of children and teens injured while sledding and tobogganing this winter."

The hospital says that the number of children in sledding accidents so far this season is already equal to seasonal totals for some years.

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Children treated for sledding accidents

"The pandemic has created significant challenges for everyone," Montreal Children’s Hospital Trauma Director Debbie Friedman said in a statement.

"Because of the limited options for physical activity, tobogganing and sledding have become more popular but, unfortunately, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of traumatic injuries compared to previous years." 

Injuries sound pretty gruesome, including "suffered traumatic brain injuries, assorted limb fractures, abdominal and pelvic injuries, eye lacerations and dental injuries."

47% of injuries "were the result of hitting/crashing into a hard object such as walls, fences, trees, tables, rocks and poles."

38% of injured children were under six years old.

The hospital also shared a list of recommendations for safe sledding. Among them:

  • check your hill for obstacles and use spots "specifically designated for sledding."

  • seek hills with "flat open space" at the bottom;

  • use a "ski or hockey type" helmet;

  • "use more traditional sleds and toboggans, which allow for better control;"

  • "do not pile too many people on a toboggan;"

  • "always sit facing forward, never stand or lie head-first;"

  • "if you lose control, roll-off sideways and do not try to stop the toboggan or sled using your hands or feet;"

  • "get out of the way at the bottom of the hill;" and

  • "toboggan during daylight."

"By working together, parents, children, teens and local municipalities can reduce the number of injuries by following these safety tips," says Trauma Centre’s Injury Prevention Coordinator Liane Fransblow.

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