This one piece of equipment will protect your kids in sledding accidents

SALT LAKE CITY — With all the new snow, kids are headed for the hills to go sledding.

While many parents make sure their kids are protected from the cold, doctors say most don't properly protect children from sledding hazards. Doctors see all types of injuries, and they say most injuries could be prevented if kids were wearing one thing while out on the hill.

“I have a couple sledding accidents on my registry right now,” said Brad Morris, Physician Assistant Trauma, Intermountain Medical Center.

Going down a hill on a sled and hitting a jump at full speed seems like a good idea until a crash happens.

“I was trying to turn to hit the jump, then I turned backwards and I hit the jump and span around, I guess, and hit the ground really hard,” said Mason See, who was sledding at Sugar House Park Monday.

Mason was among the hundreds of kids who visited Sugar House Park Monday to go sledding.

“He's been lucky so far, but I’m tempted to go get a helmet at this point,” said Randy See, Mason’s dad.

A helmet is exactly what doctors say everyone on the hill should be wearing. The ER at Intermountain Medical Center sees hundreds of sledding injuries during the winter months.

“We see the worst of the worst of those injuries on the trauma side,” Morris said.

ER doctors treat a variety of sledding-related injuries, including spine fractures and bruised and broken bones. But head injuries are the most common.

“About 40 percent have head injuries. Of those, 10 percent require ICU admission.” Morris said, “Even a small percentage of those permanently damaged the rest of their lives.”

Some parents argue a helmet is overkill, but others agree.

“Now that I’ve worked twenty years in trauma I know and see how helmets make a difference,” Morris said.

For more information on winter sports safety, visit: https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/2015/01/winter-sports-safety/