The hospital has seen an increase in sledding accidents during the pandemic.
The Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Saint-Justine just released safety guidelines for children and their parents looking to go sledding this winter — in particular, choosing sledding locations carefully, always sledding with adult supervision and always wearing a helmet.
Sledding activities have become more popular since the beginning of the pandemic, as kids and teens are looking for more opportunities to get out of the house and have some fun. With this increased time outdoors, there's an increased risk of injury, as the CHU Sainte-Justine has seen.
"Since December 1, 2021, the hospital center has admitted no fewer than 35 children and teenagers injured during sledding activities," the CHU Sainte-Justine said in a recent release. "Last January, the CHU Sainte-Justine had already treated 45 injured children, a considerable increase compared to the years prior to the pandemic."
And the injuries they're treating aren't just your typical bumps and bruises. The hospital cited treating kids and teens for concussions, cerebral hemorrhages, broken arms, legs and pelvises, and injuries to internal organs requiring emergency surgery.
The first tip the CHU Sainte-Justine offered was to choose your sledding location carefully. The ideal spot has no obstacles, is far from roads or bodies of water, and has a clear delineation between where you sled and where you walk back up the hill. They recommend avoiding icy or overly speedy slopes.
"Collisions with trees or poles, falls on ice and skidding are among the main accidents during sliding games," said the CHU Sainte-Justine in their release. "In fact, among the children admitted to the emergency room this winter, 46% of the injuries were caused by collisions with obstacles."
Next, they recommend wearing a helmet and always tobogganing in a seated position, feet-first, to avoid injury. Kids should always be supervised and children aged five and under should be accompanied by an adult when they go down the hill.
"With fewer pastimes available during lockdown, many children are turning to board sports," said Dr. Mélanie Labrosse, emergency pediatrician and head of traumatology the CHU Sainte-Justine. "It's a fun activity, but you have to be extra careful because it can cause injuries with long-term repercussions.'