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Columbus, Ohio
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Why injury? It's this simple: more children die from injuries every year than from the next three leading causes of death combined. Nobody knows this because no one is talking about it. In the U.S., one child dies every hour from an injury that could have been prevented. Around the world, a child dies every 30 seconds as the result of an injury. You don’t need to have a child to know that we can do better.

 

A "War on Fun"?

End Injury

Have you seen the recent articles about sledding bans in city parks? (Here, here, here.) The authors comment that driving causes more injuries than sledding so "sledding doesn't seem all that risky" and that the bans are a result of "overzealous safety experts" and are "a war on fun."

For those of you who say that sledding is less risky than other activities like driving, I don’t find the comparison persuasive. Many people drive daily or even multiple times a day, and we drive year-round. Sledding, on the other hand, only happens during a few months out of the year for most people and kids may only actually go sledding a couple of times in that window. If you think about the sledding season as 4 months instead of 12, the research shows an injury rate of more than 200 kids a day, which, yes, is less than half of the number of kids who are hurt in car crashes every day. But to me, neither number is acceptable. Is it to you? Why can’t we work on keeping kids safer in cars AND on sleds?

For those who say that this measure is the result of “overzealous safety experts,” you’re blaming the wrong people. The cities enacting bans have all clearly said that it’s the fear of lawsuits, not the fear of injuries themselves, that have led to the decision to ban sledding. These city officials haven’t said that they don’t think children should be sledding at all; they’re just saying that they can no longer allow it on city property. If the city can’t control how people behave and that behavior may lead to liability, it makes sense to ban the activity on city property.

Not one of the city officials interviewed for these stories or the researchers who study sledding injuries have suggested that children should not sled. Instead, city officials simply say that recent lawsuits have created valid liability concerns, and researchers recommend further study on helmets and other measures that could make sledding safer. I don’t have a problem with either of those positions.

Too many people confuse a war on injury with a war on fun, but nothing ruins the fun faster than an injury.  We want kids to play, learn, and have fun, but we also want them to be able to get back up again when they fall. To me, being safe doesn’t mean childhood can’t be fun. To me, safety is about keeping childhood fun.  

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