Free-Range Kids

Towns Are Banning Sledding Because Parents Sue When Kids Get Hurt

"Ensure all sledding equipment is in good condition, with no cracks or sharp edges."

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A friend who was noodling around the AccuWeather Inc. website today found this depressing item: "Why Have Midwestern Towns Banned a Beloved Winter Pastime?"

The article, which seems like it might just sit in a slush pile on the site's news desk and await recycling every snow season, discusses a few horrible sledding injury lawsuits that drained the coffers of Omaha, Nebraska and Sioux City, Iowa.

"According to a study from The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) at Nationwide Children's Hospital, more than 20,000 Americans younger than age 19 receive treatment for sledding-related injuries each year," notes the article.

It goes on to offer tips from the National Safety Council:

To ensure safety, the group suggests that parents ensure all sledding equipment is in good condition, with no cracks or sharp edges.

The council also suggests selecting "spacious, gently sloping hills with a level run-off at the end so the sled can safely stop" and to inspect the slopes prior to check for gaps, fences or anything else that could obstruct the ride. It also warns against sledding near frozen bodies of water.

And:

[D]o not leave children under the age of 10 to sled unattended.

Also, buy sleds with brakes and steering mechanisms:

[T]hey're very much worth the investment."

Turning a sickly shade of green with pointy fingers and an evil grin, I must now rant about everything that is wrong about this article, this advice, this country, and (go big or go to Whoville), this world.

What is Grinch-ifying me? That fact that people can sue the town when their kid gets hurt sledding. This forces local officials to simply ban the activity, because it's not worth the financial risk.

But is a town always to blame when someone gets hurt? The belief that there is a culprit (and potential pot of gold) behind every injury means every person and group has to adopt a litigious mentality and forbid a bunch of normal activities, for fear of litigation. (See this article on a school that won't let kids walk home without a chaperone.)

The sledding advice is also impractical. It makes it sound like good parents spend days hunting for the perfect hill that they must inspect for landmines.  Can't kids select their own hill? Then the parents are supposed to stick around for a decade until their kids turn 10. Similarly, the idea that the parents have to check the equipment for sharp edges is beyond annoying—it's paranoid. We now think of kids as always endangered, and their stuff as always untrustworthy unless literally brand new.

Note the source of this advice: Nationwide, a hospital named for an insurance company that donated $50 million. Here is a partial list of studies conducted by Nationwide Hospital's Gary Smith: "Microwave Oven-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments in the United States, 1990-2010;" "Softball Injuries Treated in US Emergency Departments, 1994-2010;" "Volleyball-Related Injuries…"; "Safety Interventions and Liquid Laundry Detergent Packet Exposures…"; "Stair-Related Injuries to Young Children…"; and possibly my favorite: "Children Treated in United States Emergency Departments for Door-Related Injuries, 1999-2008."

Scary to think that some kids might not only go sledding on an improperly sloping hill—on a sled that doesn't even have mechanical breaks—but then the little adrenaline junkies might walk through a door on their way back inside the house.

To summarize: Take precautions. Buy insurance. Say your prayers.

Oh, and have fun!

NEXT: A Vilified Dominion Executive Sues Promoters of a Bizarre Tale at the Center of Trump's Election Conspiracy Theory

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  1. Turning a sickly shade of green with pointy fingers and an evil grin

    I told you to ease up on the Absinthe, Lenore.

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  2. Thus, shelter in place and stay safe.

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    2. Georgia has a state law giving immunity to businesses for normal operation of their equipment and from viruses.

      Businesses are booming because of it. Lefties dont flock to booming and free areas to destroy them unless there is great wealth and potential for leaching off the state residents.

  3. .. mechanical breaks…
    BRAKES. Get a dictionary. Use it.

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  5. Why not ban skiing. Or surfing. Or driving cars. All result in injury or even death and take place on city property.

    But of course liberaltarians want to ensure government officials can be sued so why do we expect the opposite reaction.

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    2. This is the inevitable end. Ban everything

    3. of course liberaltarians want to ensure government officials can be sued

      And you don’t?

    4. We want government officials to be able to be sued for their own actions.

  6. There’s an alternate universe where this kid Harry Bailey drowned in a sledding accident because his brother George hadn’t been born.

    1. And all the men on that transport died

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  7. “…there is a culprit (and potential pot of gold) behind every injury”

    The credo of the Personal Injury Attorneys Association

    1. If only lawyers were “greedy” like doctors, and limited the number of schools and new graduates.

  8. There was an incident when I was a kid at a very popular sledding hill. Some kids built a “jump” by piling up a bunch of snow at the bottom at one end of the hill. I went over the jump once and plowed into some kid who ran away crying…felt bad but it was an accident; it was a pretty steep hill, after all.

    About an hour later they closed down the hill and brought in a freaking caterpillar to bulldoze the jump (which was made by hand by a bunch of children).

    After they re-opened the hill our first priority was to rebuild our jump. 😉 That’s one aspect of the nonsensical bureaucracy that is good: nobody cared that we just rebuilt the freaking thing.

    1. I guess I was lucky growing up. The best sledding hill in town ended at the end of a dead-end street. The snow plows would pile up the snow from the street at the end and — voila — a ready-made jump at the bottom of the hill.

      Of course that meant that after you went over the jump on your sled, you would land on freshly plowed asphalt. We tended not to think about that until we were in the air.

    2. I remember coming down a big hill, in an inner tube, picking up another kid on the way down. His parents laughed.

    3. Sliding down a hill is for pussies. We hid near street corners so we could grab the bumpers of stopped cars and school buses, and get dragged behind as far as we could.

      1. +1 Bumper hitching .

        1. Best done with metal horseshoe taps on the shoes, for sparks.

      2. Getting dragged by cars is for pussies. Some of the kids in my neighborhood (so I was told) used to hide behind the snow piles at the intersection, then pop-up and shoot Roman candles at the cars when they stopped. It was all fun and games until the car at the stop sign was a police cruiser. Then it was REAL fun.

      3. In that same spirit, a group of skateboarders that found their skate park filled with sand by the COVID lockdown-fascist city officials deposited a big load of sand in the city hall’s revolving door. Then they went an cleared the sand from the skate park.

        1. I think you may have the order of operations backwards.

          Why go buy sand to fill the city hall revolving door, when the city already left you a big pile of sand free of charge.

          1. I’m sure you got it right. I was going from my recollection of the news report and my old-fucker memory is shot full of holes.

    4. In that same spirit, a group of skateboarders that found their skate park filled with sand by the COVID lockdown-fascist city officials, deposited a big load of sand in the city hall’s revolving door. Then they went an cleared the sand from the skate park.

  9. Oh for goodness sake.

    When I was a kiddo we had a great sledding hill. We all had those wooden steel runner sleds. A flexible flyer if you had a good one.

    There was a small dip and hill in it where if you got a good running jump you could catch some air. If you didn’t wipe out at least once it was no fun. We called it “death hill”.

  10. We had a big hill behind the neighbors. Also built a jump. I always liked the saucer sleds best, wax then up and the go bombing down a hill.

  11. Huge hill behind the dorms. Big snow and we’d grab the naugahide cushions off the dorm couches for sleds. Slick as anything, hard as hell to hold on to.

    1. What are cafeteria trays, chopped liver?

      1. Whahoo! Sounds like another Mainer to me!

        1. It was before my time, but I know someone who used to “compete” in the Sugarloaf refrigerator and canoe sled races. Wish they could bring that back.

      2. Libe slope at Cornell, with a few bottles of Boones Farm chilling in a snow bank.

  12. [D]o not leave children under the age of 10 to sled unattended.

    Oh, Santa’s watching out for them.

    1. And the NSA – – – – – –

  13. Are you hanging up your stocking on your wall?
    Are you hoping that the snow will start to fall?
    Do you ride on down the hillside
    In a buggy you have made?
    When you land upon your head
    Then you bin slayed

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWgwTe01kMU

      The lack of an edit /preview button is really nuts. Is Reason worried about liability? In this case, apparently, a link got truncated by two letters

  14. Holy Ethan Frome! Someone could get hurt!

    1. God I hated that book. My parents had just bought a house in VT in ‘68. So I found a book about VT living. . . . In hell as it turned out.

  15. How did any of us live to be 26 y.o. back in the 20th century without a million Karens watching over our parents?

    1. Millions and millions died. Don’t you remember the carnage?

    2. Living dangerously — we hitch-hiked all over the place…..rarely see a hitch-hiker today — I guess all the youngsters have cars these days.

      1. The hitchhikers were all killed and eaten. None are left.

  16. Lefties fuck up everything fun. They literally teach communism in law school. Take from the free and give to sheeple.

  17. O/T – Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, admitted in a new interview that he’s been intentionally moving the goal posts on his recommendations regarding herd immunity based on what he thinks the American people are ready to hear.

    Fuck this fucking fuck.

    1. NOW IS THE TIME TO DO AS YOU ARE TOLD.

  18. The cancel culture doesn’t need no stinking logic!

  19. If anything goes wrong with your life, you have no responsibility for it, it’s someone else’s fault, and they must be made to pay.

    Now which political party does that sound like?

    1. All of them?

  20. We used to play chicken on our flexible flyers. All go to various sides of a frozen pond, run, jump on the sleds aimed at each other and typically smash into a big Calvin and Hobbes pile up. What fun! The 1950’s were pretty swell.

  21. Take Shakespear’s advice. “Kill all of the lawyers.”

    The problem is that somebody has to pay. Your child goes out sledding, does a crash and burn and breaks his arm. Nothing major, just a greenstic fracture. You have medical insurance, take him to the hospital, have the arm set and a few weeks later he’s as good as new. Well the medical insurance company gets the bill and then they look to see who they can sue to recover their money. When you sign the paperwork for the medical insurance, you grant them the right to sue on your behalf. That’s how you get stories of a Grandmother sueing her grandson. The medical insurance company sues the owner of the property where the accident happens. It could be your neighbor’s homeowners insuranc company or your Town or City’s liability insurance. After a few of these the Town or Ciry’s lawyers advise them to ban sledding on their property. There you have it plain and simple.

    1. In Western Europe, the government pays the universal health insurance and nobody needs to sue anybody. For that reason, Western Europe never developed the lawsuit culture that has metastasized into every corner of US society.

      1. They did, however, develop the socialist culture.

      2. The government has already taken away everybody’s money so suing is pointless

      3. C’mon dude the government doesn’t have any money except what it coerces from the people.

    2. Not really. In my experience health insurance companies typically place a lien against any settlement, but won’t actively pursue one themselves. They would only be entitled to the medical specials, and typically not at the billed amount, but only at the amount agreed upon by the health insurance carrier and the medical provider.

      Grandson is getting sued because someone told Grandma that Grandson has insurance, and it’ll be all okay because It’ll just be Grandson’s liability insurance that pays. So Grandma gets an attorney, who goes for broke against the grandson. The health insurance provider simply exercises its subrogation rights by placing a lien against any recovery.

      When it comes to sledding, you’re not dealing with an open and shut liability decision. No insurer is going to initiate costly subrogation litigation over 2-10k in ER specials. But Little Johnny’s mom and dad are eyeing those sweet, sweet general damages, all while justifying suing their friends and neighbors because “insurance will pay for it.”

  22. Courts and juries must stop honoring frivolous lawsuits.

    1. Rather, they need to begin making losing plaintiffs pay the court costs and the winner’s lawyers.

  23. Remember when all we had to worry about was putting out an eye with a Red Rider BB gun?

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  24. What an utterly bizarre take. I’m with you on critiquing the town bans but most of this article is just mocking the National Safety Council for… er… offering safety tips? I’m all for liberty but what in the world is the problem with an organization offering advice about how to undertake potentially dangerous activities safely?

  25. The Peacock
    We all know the peacock. These huge proud birds have something to be proud of. Their tail is huge, wide, and full of colors. This is often blue and green but can deviate from this. This is also why they are so famous – that beautiful tail.

    The tail can be very small, but they are only too happy to show their tail. If they make their tail bigger, the tail is bigger than half the size of the peacock itself! The peacock is also known for having a special eye color. You can find red, gold, blue also other colors. Peacocks are very special and beautiful birds.

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  26. Ok I’m in my late 50’s and pretty much all the schools in my area growing up with steep hills had sledding..and it was the wild west. You could always bank on some dumb kid who decided to walk back up the hill in the middle of the hill getting run over by some kid(s) coming down. We used to build jumps and one time I went airborne right into a metal fence…knocked the crap out of me but I walked away. Perhaps the craziest thing we did was have two teams..one team picked an unlucky person who was “it”. This person had to stand at the base of the hill facing away from the hill and his teammates told him to move right or left . The other team objective was to run over the kid who was “it.” Yes this actually did occur and more than one kid got hit by a sled. No one as hurt that bad…..stop by pussyfied America.

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