COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug. 27 (UPI) — Wintertime sledding the United States results in an average of more than 20,000 injuries a year, U.S. researchers reported.
Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found an estimated 229,023 patients in children and teens younger than age 19 treated from 1997 to 2007 in U.S. emergency departments for sledding-related injuries.
The study, scheduled to the published in the September issue of the journal Pediatrics, attributes the majority of injuries — 51 percent — to collision. Overall, the head was the most commonly injured body part, with 34 percent of sledding injuries involving the head.
Fifty-two percent of the injuries occurred at recreation centers and 31 percent on private property. Sledders injured on a street or highway were more likely to sustain injuries to the head and to be hospitalized, the study said.
“Two of the main factors that contribute to sledding-related injuries are the environment and locale,” study co-author Lara McKenzie said in a statement. “To reduce the risk of injury, sledding areas should be clear of trees and other obstacles and should have sufficient run-out areas away from streets.”
The use of motorized vehicles such as cars and all terrain vehicles to pull sleds was a finding of particular concern.
“Our findings indicate that the prevalence of this activity may be much greater and the practice more common than previously thought,” McKenzie said.
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.