Sledding accidents in children: Potential for serious injury, risk of fatality

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5 Scopus citations


Though a pastime rarely considered rough or dangerous, sledding is not risk-free. The presentation of several serious injuries to Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, led us to examine our emergency department and admitting records to determine the incidence of neurological injury among children involved in sledding accidents. We discovered 24 children who had sustained brain or spine injuries as sequelae to sledding mishaps during a 5-year period. The ages ranged from 3 months to 15 years. Injuries included multiple skull fractures, 2 epidural hematomas, 1 subdural hematoma, 1 odontoid fracture and 1 anoxic brain injury. There was 1 death. Twenty-one of 24 patients incurred their injuries by colliding with fixed objects. Both improvised crafts and models intended for sledding were involved in the injuries. Only 3 sleds possessed steering capability. Eight of the 9 children who sustained a serious neurosurgical injury were supervised by an adult. Only 2 children had received instruction before sledding. The lack of awareness of the potential for injury together with the dearth of instruction and lack of control over a vehicle dashing down a hill studded with obstacles can change a carefree pastime into a hazardous activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-7
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 24 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Anoxic brain injury
  • Athletic injuries
  • Epidural hematoma
  • Odontoid fracture
  • Skull fracture
  • Sledding injuries
  • Subdural hematoma
  • Winter sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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