Downhill Thrills: Sledding Essentials and Safety Tips for Families

Be the family everyone envies on the sled hill this winter.

Get ready to reign supreme on the sled hills this winter with some cool ways to feed the need for speed for pint-size (and even adult-size) thrill seekers.

Sledding Essentials

Floats

Best For: Bouncy fun with friends 

Bonus Feature: Your downhill racer can double as a summer pool float!

Our Fave: This Red Bull Racing float

Cost: $69-$160 

The Plastic Saucer

Best For: Freestyle daredevils

Bonus Feature: Handles help control those swirls and twirls

Our Fave: L.L. Bean’s Sonic Snow Saucer DLX

Cost: $59

The Classic Sled

Best For: Sturdy, reliable ride

Bonus Feature: Steerable

Our Fave: 54-inch Flexible Flyer Steel Runner Sled 

Cost: $142.59

Toboggans

Best For: Making family memories

Bonus Feature: Family heirlooms

Our Fave: Northern Toboggan Co.’s Junior Classic Wood Toboggan Sled

Cost: $395, cushion extra

Safety First!

“I love sledding, it was one of my favorite winter activities when I was little. But working in the emergency department we see sled injuries every year,” says Children’s Hospital of Michigan Medical Director Dr. Kelly Levasseur.

Her top ways to stay out of the Emergency Department:

  • Make sure kids are dressed warmly and that they are wearing gloves and boots.
  • Unless it is a very small hill, kids should wear a helmet while sledding. 
  • Avoid sledding in areas with trees, fences and light poles or on rocky hills.
  • Sleds that can be steered and have braking features may allow for more control than flat sheets, snow discs, tubes and toboggans. 
  • Make sure to follow manufacturer guidelines for the number of passengers a sled can safely hold.
  • Kids under age 5 should always be sledding with an adult or go very short distances between two adults. 
  • Sit forward facing on the sled with feet downhill. Never go downhill face-first because this can lead to a serious head injury. 
  • Do not sled in the street or on a highway. 
  • Avoid sledding on driveways, hills or slopes that end in a street, drop-off, parking lot, river or pond.
  • Because they are hard to steer, the best place to use a tube is in a tubing park.
  • Watch your kids while they are sledding, teach them to make good choices while sledding to help them stay safe. Make sure they are warm and dry. Take breaks when needed and hot chocolate breaks are always necessary!

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Metro Parent Editorial Team
Metro Parent Editorial Team
Since 1986, the Metro Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for metro Detroit families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.

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