There’s no question that sledding can be dangerous. Kids—not known for their stellar judgment—are given carte blanche to fly down steep icy hills on flimsy contraptions they can’t steer or stop. They careen at more than 20 miles per hour—as fast as cars—yet they don’t have the protection of thick metal frames, or air bags, or seat belts. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that approximately 10,000 sledding-related injuries in children under the age of 14 were treated in hospital emergency departments in 2012.But since sledding in the street is illegal, the cities can't be held liable, right? Sigh.
That’s a lot. But by comparison, consider that trampolines caused nearly 79,000 ER-worthy injuries in kids under 14 in 2012, and television sets caused 26,000. Sledding becomes much less dangerous when it’s done a certain way, too—and that’s precisely why these park sledding bans are a problem: Open spaces such as parks are among the safest places for kids to sled. One study found that the odds of going to the ER for sledding injuries were five times higher in children who had been sledding on the street compared with in the park. Injuries sustained while street sledding are often much worse, too, and are more likely to involve traumatic brain injuries. But where are kids without big backyards going to sled if they can’t do it in the park? The street, of course.
Falling television sets keep showing up in these accident numbers -- for example, I love the statistic that since 9-11 more Americans have been killed by falling televisions than by terrorists. Which has me wondering about the falling television menace; how, exactly, do televisions kill people? Do they fall off the wall because they are improperly mounted? Are they dropped while being mounted? Are they knocked off counters onto the little sister sitting on the other side? And what is the government doing to protect us from the falling television menace?