SALT LAKE CITY — Despite the lack of snow, or because of it, sledding injuries have doubled in Utah this season, and hospital officials are offering tips for parents to keep their children safe.
Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital reports the current number of injuries that required specialized intensive care has also doubled the rate of last winter.
According to the hospital, none of the children they treated for traumatic sledding injuries in 2020 or 2021 were wearing a helmet.
"Many of these could be prevented and made less severe if the children were wearing a helmet." said Jessica Strong, community health manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.
The lack of snow in Utah, which is concerning for the area's water supply and local ski resorts, could be the reason for the high rate of injury.
"We're speculating that because of the low snow, kids are on hills that in any other year would have plenty of snow on them." said Strong. "But this year we've had such little snow that there's likely more obstructions, like rocks and tree branches or roots that are sticking out."
Parents are being told to pay attention to where a sledding hill ends to make sure it doesn't run into traffic. Children should also immediately walk away from the end of a sledding hill and climb back up on the sides.