Pediatric Sledding Injuries in Pennsylvania

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To describe the frequency, characteristics, and circumstances of pediatric sledding-associated injuries and to assess the validity of published risk factors and prevention measures for these injuries.


A retrospective, descriptive study of patients admitted to the 25 accredited trauma centers in Pennsylvania.


Two hundred twenty-six patients were admitted for sledding-related injuries. Sixty-nine percent were male. The mean ICU LOS was 1.2 days (SD=3), and the mean hospital LOS was 7 days (SD=7.2). Ninety-eight percent were discharged alive. Forty-seven percent of the ISS scores were classified as moderate (ISS 7–15). There was almost no correlation between age and ISS (r=0.06), but there was moderate correlation between ISS and length of ICU stay (r=0.47). Hitting trees and stationary objects (n=121) was the most common circumstance of injury. Patients struck by moving vehicles (n= 16) had the highest proportion of head (30%) and chest (15%) injuries, the highest mortality rate (33%), the highest median ISS score (20) and the highest mean ICU LOS (6.4 days) compared to patients who hit stationary objects or fell.


Among children admitted to Pennsylvania trauma centers, most sledding injuries were of a mild and moderate severity and required an average of a week's hospitalization. Most children were injured from collisions with stationary objects, supporting the precaution against sledding in areas with obstacles. The high mortality rate from motor vehicle/sled collisions justifies the prohibition against sledding in areas with moving vehicles.

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