Sliding downhill is an exhilarating winter sport. People of all ages can participate, and use all kinds of containers, from large toboggans to plastic disks or even cardboard boxes. But accidental injuries from sledding are surprisingly common despite snow's cushioning effect.

The National Safety Council offers these guidelines for safe and fun sledding and tobogganing.
  • Keep all equipment in good condition. Broken parts, sharp edges, cracks and split wood invite injuries.
  • Sled on spacious, gently sloping hills, which have a level run-off at the end so that the sled can come to a halt safely. Avoid steep slopes and slopes located near streets and roadways.
  • Check slopes for bare spots, holes and other obstructions which might cause injury. Bypass these areas or wait until conditions are better.
  • The proper position for sledding is to sit or lay on your back on the top of the sled with your feet pointing downhill. Sledding headfirst increases the risk of head and neck injuries and should be avoided.
  • Ensure the sledding path does not cross traffic and is free from hazards such as large trees, fences, rocks or telephone poles.
  • Do not sled on or around frozen lakes, streams or ponds because the ice may be unstable.
  • Dress warm enough for conditions. Sledders should wear thick gloves or mittens and protective boots to protect against frostbite as well as potential injury.