Do Your Kids Sled Without You? Or Shovel?


Here’s a ieffzaeszn
Yahoo Parenting piece by Beth Greenfield about kids not sledding along anymore
. She was inspired by columnist Tom Purcell in, who wrote, “I drove by a popular sledding spot after it snowed last week. I only saw a handful of younger kids and every one of them had at least one adult keeping a watchful eye over him. “

Beth interviewed me about this, and what struck me was that perhaps there’s a link between “sledding alone,” which kids don’t do, and “Bowling Alone,” which adults do do. In his book by that name, Harvard public policy professor Robert Putnam chronicles the decline of community activities.

I realize correlation is not causation, but is it possible that we are spending so much time shuttling and supervising our offspring, we have little left over for anything else, be it bowling or bridge or Kiwanis?

If so, it’s not just the children losing out. Anyway, here’s a bit of what Beth (and I) have to say:

….[This is] the new norm: hyper-supervised sledding, with anxious parents hovering at the top and bottom of hills, if not squeezing between kids right onto the plastic toboggans themselves.

So how did we get here?

It could be the flurry of worrisome media reports and studies that tend to get unleashed around this time of year — the ones with the chilling statistics about cuts, fractures, and brain injuries, and more than 200,000 children treated in emergency rooms for such sledding-related issues each year (according to the latest study, which is from 2010). Many doctors now urge parents to strap helmets on their kids’ heads before letting them hop into their snow saucers or snow tubes — or even to avoid those swirling discs altogether. Turns out sledding is dangerous, and that, of course, is scary.

But Lenore Skenazy — “Free-Range Kids” author, blogger, and star of the reality show World’s Worst Mom — points out, “That was not untrue [when we were kids], and it’s not untrue now.” Skenazy tells Yahoo Parenting that while she does believe in safety, moms and dads will drive themselves crazy — not to mention their kids — if they view every activity as high-risk.

“I don’t know statistics about sledding, but it’s been around as long as there has been snow,” she says. “We are the first generation to believe that, by simply watching, we can magically protect our kids from the laws of physics.”

 Anyway, let me know what the sledding situation is in your neck of the woods.

Over by me, we have teens, and they are busy trying to earn shoveling bucks — a bit of gumption explicitly legalized in New Jersey at least:

Legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) ensuring that kids have the right to offer snow shoveling services before storms without municipal approval was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.

Maybe once entrepreneurial kids meet their neighbors, we can start knitting our communities back together. – L

A rare sight?

A rare sight?


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48 Responses to Do Your Kids Sled Without You? Or Shovel?

  1. Christina January 24, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    The sledding hills have always been too far to reach without a car, so mine can’t sled without me (and I’m a giant 5 year old in the snow – I have my own sled!). That being said, I let mine go down the crazy big hills on their own at age 5 b/c they wanted to do it without me. The pride on those little faces! And they loved that the bigger kids high-fived them.

    Shoveling I let them do alone at 7. Everyone on our block knew them, and they usually petered out by the third house (Chicago got a lot of snow there for a couple years). The upside of being back in NY – we can walk to awesome sledding. Downside – classic NY helicopter parents. Chicago was a LOT more laid back about kids.

  2. Michelle January 24, 2016 at 11:50 am #

    TBH, I think it also depends where the sledding hill is. Where we live now, no snow (it would take a huge weather abnormality). Where we were still living last winter, my kids used to go with the older neighborhood kids to the park across the street. Although, sometimes I’d make them let me go–I love sledding. When I was a kid, the best place to sled was in down Art Hill (in St. Louis, about a 30 minute drive), so the parents always came. We could sled down the neighbor’s hill too, but it was in the front yard leading directly to the street…which was A-ok, until the snowplow came through. We just took turns as lookout.

  3. Michelle January 24, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

    Here on the Gulf Coast, we have NO kids sledding EVER, not even with parental supervision.

  4. Michelle January 24, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

    Aw, there was supposed to be a 😉 with my comment, LOL.

  5. Christopher Byrne January 24, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    We were sent out to sled with a “Be careful.” And we were. In our neighborhood, which was overrun with kids, the best sledding hill was a five-minute walk from the house at a nearby park. The only parents I remember seeing were those with the little, little kids who seemed to be enjoying themselves, too.

    The thing about that hill was that it bottomed out at a busy street. But kids, who even back then had common sense, would wait at the bottom of the hill and shout “car” or give a signal for others to come down. It was never organized from anything I remember; it was just kids looking out for each other naturally. Of course, most of us knew each other from the neighborhood and played together regularly without adult supervision. Big kids looked after little kids. And big kids looked after each other. Funny how that works when parents aren’t micro-managing everything.

  6. Corinne January 24, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    My boys love sledding by themselves. They usually go with 2-3 other kids from around the neighbourhood

  7. SKL January 24, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    We don’t have enough snow here yet this year to do any serious sledding.

    My front yard is on a slope atop a hill, so my kids get to toboggan without leaving the house. No, I don’t supervise them. I used to when they were little, because of the risk of sliding right into the street. But usually the snow plows pile up enough snow along the curbs so that isn’t a serious risk.

    Glad you reminded me about this, because last summer, I discovered a steep hill that would be perfect for sledding at the nearby national park. If I get time, I’d like to take my kids there to try it out.

  8. Wendy W January 24, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    If they are big enough to get there themselves, and/or pull the sled back uphill by themselves, then they are big enough to sled by themselves. The biggest hill in our town is usually full of kids that have been dropped off as it’s not within walking distance of most people. The cops finally had to start policing the highway there because cars were causing traffic issues pulling on and off the highway where the easiest access is the shoulder. Another great hill well outside of town necessitates waiting around while the kids slide, but the parents wait in the cars and stay warm while visiting or reading.

    Years ago when I worked in a small hospital, we saw a couple of impressive injuries from sledding. One from one of those old sleds with the metal runners which are now rare and often forbidden on public hills, and the other from a large branch that had fallen from a tree. That one was certainly preventable, and being that it was at a state park, someone should have cleared the area before the hill opened for the day. Most injuries however are minor, and usually happen too fast to be prevented. I think most people have been knocked off their feet by an oncoming sled. Like with swings, kids just have to learn to stay out of the way.

    When we lived on an AF base in ND, where hills are few and far between, the base one year decided to pile all the snow that was removed from parking lots into a sledding hill on the kids’ soccer fields. It was HUGE, and being adjacent to the neighborhood, had tons of unaccompanied children using it. Unfortunately they never repeated it in following years becasue it took so long to melt that the fields were unusable that spring due to the standing water.

  9. Donna January 24, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

    Snow is such a rarity here that the adults usually want in on the fun too. The only place that we can sled within walking distance is on the road, so only in a major (for Georgia) snow storm which shuts down the entire town for several days and, even then, usually only for a day before the cars want their roads back. Since this only happens once every 3-4 years, we are ALL stoked to sled, adults included. Even though I don’t stay out as long as my daughter, there will be some adults around sledding and socializing pretty much the whole time she is there.

  10. Suzanne January 24, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

    I have to drive my kids to the sled hill because it’s too far to walk but then I stay in the car while they sled.

  11. Ellen January 24, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

    Whenever we get even a smidge of snow (which is fairly rare where I live), I have the neighbor kids on my front porch, wanting to know if they can sled down the hill in my back yard. I always say yes, and my son usually joins them. I don’t go out, just take a peek out the back window every now and then. I did have a bit of a panic one time when I heard a shriek and looked out the window to see the neighbor girl on her face in the snow, but it turned out she was having a tantrum because her brother was hogging the sled. I did go out on the back porch initially to make sure she was okay, but then left them to sort it out themselves. They were happily sledding down the hill again a few minutes later.

  12. Backroads January 24, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    We just had a nice snowstorm and I can guarantee the local sledding hill is packed.

  13. Cedric January 24, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

    Some of it probably stems from a litigious bent. Sledding on public or private locations both opens the owners or managers up to lawsuits from parents if someone gets hurt. If I let kids sled down my hill, for example, its my insurance that has to cover if one of them gets injured, even barely. I still let them sled, but I still worry about it in the back of my mind.

  14. Beth January 24, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

    In the Washington DC area, which is, you know, blanketed in snow right now, there will be no sledding if the school systems have anything to say about it:

  15. Cathryne Callaway January 24, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

    My almost 8 year old stayed out sledding by himself yesterday after the 2 year old was ready to go in for hot chocolate. I encourage him to venture out on his own but I paused for a moment yesterday because sledding can be a risky activity and, unlike me at that age, he wasn’t sledding with friends; he was truly alone. These days of play dates rather than packs of children roaming the neighborhood means he has no geographically close friends to join in his sledding. I’d rather he had a friend or two to make it more enjoyable for him but also to have another person who could run for help.

  16. sexhysteria January 24, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    When I was eight years old all the kids on my block (age 8-12) went to the park several blocks away to sled without any adults.

  17. James Pollock January 24, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    In these parts, we get snow that sticks to the ground about once every other year, on average.

    About 7 or 8 years ago, though, we got about 8 inches of snow (unusual enough) followed by about a half-inch of freezing rain, followed by about 3 weeks of sub-freezing temperature. So there was a layer of ice on top of a layer of snow, that didn’t melt. That kept most everyone inside, unless they had to go out for food. The ice got broken up on the major roadways, but neighborhood streets were… interesting.

  18. Warren January 24, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

    Unless it is a special day to go to old ski hills or hidden gems, like me my kids always went on their own.

  19. Warren January 24, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    That school board would not be getting compliance by my kids.

  20. Elin January 24, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

    Sledding on little hills around the neighborhood is pretty common where I live but going to a bigger hill is normally a family activity and kids usually do wear a helmet. Still, I don’t feel they are very sheltered, except for the youngest ones the parents often sit near the fire (there are often places where you can make a fire nearby) and talk and the kids go down the hill. If parents are on the hill and not with a small child they usually go down the hill on their own or with a kid because they both want to. Helmets are the norm as I said, probably because most schools demand that children wear a helmet when ice-skating or sledding during breaks. It lessens the need for constant adult supervision and a small part is probably for the school to have covered their asses. But because of this children are used to helmets and often wear them on their own initiative. Bike helmets are a legal requirement though until you are 15 years of age which I support.

  21. coasterfreak January 24, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

    When I was a kid, we had a hill right in our back yard that was *almost* great for sledding. There was a ditch at the bottom. But just three houses down from me there was a PERFECT sledding hill, that kids used to come from all over the neighborhood to use. Fortunately, the home owners on whose property it sat, did not mind. So technically, while I was usually in a place where at least some adult could be watching from within the warmth of their home, I was never specifically told to not go anywhere else. So I did venture to other locations and wasn’t always where someone could watch, and that was fine with my parents. And I even went sledding by myself quite a bit, if I couldn’t find anyone else who wanted to go, because it was my favorite winter activity. The only time there were adults with us is if my dad drove us to a different hill that was too far to walk to.

    I now live in TX, so there’s no sledding here, although on the rare occasion we get some snow or ice that covers the roads, you can always find kids sitting on makeshift sleds being towed behind cars, which is about 100,000 times more dangerous than sledding down a hill could ever be. I cringe every time I see it. I have to wonder what makes people think that if the roads are in bad enough condition that they can’t go to work, that it’s perfectly safe to tow their kids behind their motor vehicles on the same roads?

    Last thought – if I lived in an area where there was snow, and if my kids were still young enough to want to go sledding, I would not feel compelled to stand by and watch them. I might, however, feel compelled to JOIN them. Not because they need to be watched, but because sledding is a freaking blast!

  22. lollipoplover January 24, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

    Our kids sled parent-free. Most of the local hills (we have quite a few they can walk to) are *run* by the older kids in the neighborhood that spend countless hours building jumps and ramps and who do a pretty good job of teaching the ropes (no head first sledding, don’t wreck their jumps) to the younger ones. My girls have been out sledding with friends for most of yesterday and all of today. My job as the parent is to make sure they respect the basic sledding rules (I’m big on no head first- head injuries are the biggest risk with sledding) and to keep the fire going and provide hot chocolate when they come home for breaks. I’d rather have bees in my hair then stand around in 3 feet of snow watching perfectly capable kids go down sledding hills.

    We have several big sledding hills that we drive to and these are usually filled with parents. My observation? Parents make it more dangerous for kids, especially if they themselves insist on sledding. The bigger the body, the harder the crash. We had a parent last year who had to be air-lifted off a sledding hill after she crashed into another sledder (the kid was fine, the mom shattered her leg). Sledding is such a fun part of childhood that I’m happy to say my kids get to experience with their friends and not me! I also can’t stand watching parents carry the sled up the hill for their child (or worse, pull the kid up in the sled) so we usually just drop off at the big hills and arrange a time to pick them up.

    As for shoveling, my oldest has been out working non-stop since the blizzard hit. He came back last night after dark, ate dinner, and went right to sleep. He left at dawn this morning to work and hasn’t been back since. He’s made $750 so far (and still shoveling). His HS sports team posted on a community group a goodwill post that the team would be happy to shovel out for free any housebound or elderly neighbors and also offered up their shoveling services to the neighborhood at reasonable rates. They can’t keep up with the demand!

  23. SKL January 24, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    As for shoveling – I bought my kids little snow shovels when they were 2 or 3. Beginning at age 3 I paid them for clearing the sidewalk etc. 😛 We don’t shovel much though, because we don’t need to. I hire a guy to plow out the driveway when it snows a lot. I have a long driveway and nobody has time to go outside and shovel before work in the morning. The last time I did it, it took me 2.5 hours.

  24. coasterfreak January 24, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

    I couldn’t even read the whole article you posted because I got to the part where it says, “In Arlington, we really are moving towards 24/7 learning” and I got so mad I had to stop reading.

    Nobody needs 24/7 anything. Are they trying to completely suck all of the joy out of being a kid? Geez!

  25. John January 24, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

    This is just a question I dealt with today after the storm here in Brooklyn. Went out sledding with my six-year-old–she’s been sledding since she was six months old. My thought was, all the crap about kids and safety doesn’t seem to apply when it comes to sledding. No helmets, endless high-speed collisions and then, stuff even I was surprised to see–people sledding down the steps of Lookout HIll straight into the Maryland monument! They modulated themselves so they weren’t going too fast and some adult guys acted as guardians to stop the ones that were going to crash into the iron railing. Nearby, sledding down a trail through the woods. Maybe not the Park Slope crowd, it was toward the south end of Prospect Park. Russians, Jews, blacks, Latinos, young, old, teenagers, just about everybody, a sort of healthy chaos maybe elementally unleashed by snow. One of the fun things about sledding is it doesn’t seem controlled by the authorities.

  26. Steve S January 24, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

    We used to sled down streets when I was a kid. I lived in a very hilly town and don’t ever remember my parents going with me to sled.

  27. Emily January 24, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

    Wait a minute, what’s wrong with sledding with our kids? I LIKE sledding! And my kids think it is great fun to sled with Mom (and then tip her over at the bottom…)

  28. Beth January 24, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

    @coasterfreak, that shocked me too. And that “assistant superintendent of instruction” seemed to be proud of this, making me wonder how someone who doesn’t know that kids need, at minimum, SLEEP, got that title. Does he/she work 24/7? Extremely doubtful.

  29. Tern January 24, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

    I guess this depends on where you live. Almost all the kids at our busy neighborhood sledding hill are without parents. Only the youngest–preschoolers and toddlers–have adults with them. But in our city neighborhood kids walk to school and stores alone too.

  30. andy January 24, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

    Dunno, the articles are not the kind of articles that I tend to take seriously. First, the bigger kids did not went to popular sledging hill, therefore a lot of assumptions for why they are not there. Maybe bigger kids don’t find sledging fun anymore and parents don’t force them outside anymore. Second, the “two to three adults chaperoning kids” are doing company to each other. That is “meet with friends” thing the “bowling alone” article is nostalgic after.

    Third, the bully argument shared by two articles is just dumb. If your colleges of similar age did not learned how to deal with bullies and bullies of your age run rampant in your workplace, that is hardly argument for the style of parenting you all shared. Maybe author brag about how he learned to deal with bullies is right, but by his own words most did not. Bullies kept bullying till adult age and most just accepted it to adult age. And really seriously, spending whole day at 10 being obsessed over a guy who rammed you in the morning trying to hit him from back is hardly fending for yourself or maturing a bit or even standing up to bullies. That sort of petty conflict happen, but really, bragging over it at age of 50 is not much impressive. More importantly, it is not really convincing argument for sending kid somewhere.

    I would not treat sledging differently then any outdoor activity – whether kid can go alone depends on age, place where it happen and which other kids go too. I assume that it will be mostly fun with minor conflicts only and tons of fun – because my memories of sledging are mostly fun and not stupid drama article ended up celebrating.

  31. Randy Garbin January 24, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

    I take my kid to the hill because it’s too far, but she goes down the hill by herself and the only reason I watch is to see her having fun. If a few parents turned to me and offered to share a flask back in the trees I’d happily partake. If my kid told me that she’d head off with a friend to go without me, I’d gladly let her. Sadly, few parents around here seem to encourage this kind of initiative.

  32. BMS January 24, 2016 at 7:36 pm #

    I’d be willing to give the benefit of the doubt in some cases like this. The only good sledding hill in my town is too far to walk to, and when my kids were small and into sledding (as opposed to skiing, tubing, snowboarding) they didn’t have phones. It was less annoying to hang out and drink coffee while chatting with the other parents (and occasionally taking a run of my own) than to try to guess when they were going to be done. But I only sledded with them when they asked, because sometimes more mass means a faster run, depending on snow conditions. I definitely wished we lived nearer the sledding hill, but whatever. As I recall, my mom did the same thing, for the same reasons.

    Shoveling, though, that they are perfectly able to do without me, as soon as they were big enough to hold a shovel and stay away from the street.

  33. Tanya January 24, 2016 at 7:50 pm #

    There is a great hill on the school yard, which is a five minute walk for my boys, 6 & 11. They go together, but neither goes alone, because it takes both of them to mind the time (one kid wears the watch, the other has the return time written on his arm) and come back at the time they’ve committed to. They know people at more than half of the houses between here and there, so i have no concerns about their safety. Any day they are sledding, at least a few other kids will be there too.

  34. Rachael January 24, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

    My 7 year old spent hours yesterday sledding at the huge hill she needed to be driven to so adults were there. This morning, she and her cousins were sledding on the tiny incline in their side yard alone. Somehow, she slid face first into a small tree with enough force that we had to take her to the ER to get her swollen & bloody nose looked at. This is the same ER we had to take her to only 4 months ago with a bloody and swollen nose that ended up being broken. That time she was alone for 3 minutes in a waiting room and said she was dancing and fell and hit a table.
    My mom thought I was going to be arrested! ( only half joking). I was asked if an adult was watching and if she had a helmet on but otherwise, no problems. Her nose was not broken this time and I still plan on letting her play alone or with just cousins/friends . Like Lenore said, my being there wouldn’t have changed the laws of physics, but I am learning that free range parenting is a bit trickier with an accident prone kid.

  35. EtobicokeMom January 24, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

    Alone? There are municipalities around here that have outright BANNED it on city-owned property and many others looking at mandatory helmet laws. I have to assume that the tobogganing police would have a lot to say about unsupervised children. In defence of adults at tobogganing hills, I have seen some extremely reckless behaviour from the pre-teen set and once saw a very serious injury barely avoided when an adult literally threw himself in between a reckless pre-teen and a 6 year old. For me, tobogganing alone will come later than playing at the playground alone, or other such activities. In the meantime, I will focus on fighting to keep the hills open at all! And helmet free….

    I also saw some comments criticizing parents pulling their kids up the hill. To them, I would say “don’t judge.” I went through an entire winter in which my then 4 year old simply would NOT toboggan without me pulling him up and going down with him. But I wanted him to have that experience, to know the sheer exhilaration of sledding, so that he would come to love it. Now he does love it, but he would not have had I not done the heavy lifting that year. And staying home would have deprived my daughter of the experience. My point is, you just don’t know the whole story – maybe that kid already spent an hour trudging up the hill and wants just a few more rides so Mom helps out. Maybe her wee legs are just plain done in, but Dad is happy for the exercise and loves the sound of her giggles and laughter as he pulls her along. What’s so horrible about that?

    For me, I LOVE tobogganing. LOVE IT! So of course I go with them, because why let them have all the fun?!?

  36. tdr January 24, 2016 at 9:24 pm #

    We have to drive to the best sledding hill here. I see lots of parents there, but none are hovering anxiously.

    My 11 year old was out with his friend for a good bit of the afternoon and a kid we don’t know joined them at some point.

    It’s a little sad there aren’t more kids out playing. I chalk it up to 2 things — it’s easier to stay inside and play video games (that was my son until I kicked him outside) — but more than anything there simply aren’t a ton of kids like there used to be. The numbers of kids simply are not as high as they were. I think that drives a lot of what we see as “helicopter parenting” in a lot of different ways.

  37. Steve January 24, 2016 at 11:49 pm #

    One year my younger brother cut up his right hand on a saucer and had to write left handed for a month. A couple of years later I hit a tree an chipped a tooth. In both cases, after making sure we were all right mom’s basic reaction was to be more careful and not to scare her like that.

  38. Natasha January 25, 2016 at 5:19 am #

    The nearest decent sledding hill is too far away for my 5 year old to go by herself so I go with her but its also because I want to sled too! I taught her how to sledge-board (something me and my brother made up when we were kids – go down the hill standing up on the sledge) and to slide down the hill on her bum backwards for extra excitement. I see some kids come by themselves (age around 8/9+) and other kids come with adults. Not seen any wearing helmets though, but I am going to insist mine wears her ice skating helmet if she wants to go down the hill on her mini-skis as they pretty fast.

    In a couple of years time she’ll be able to go with friends if she doesn’t want to go with me.

  39. MichaelF January 25, 2016 at 5:28 am #

    Our closest good hill is at the school, which is a bit of a walk before and after they sled, sometimes they walk with the neighbor kids with a parent just to go with them. Otherwise we pile in a car with a bunch of sleds and go, so I can do some sledding too!

    My youngest wanted to go down on the toboggan with me, but more for the fun factor, I hit the jumps. They can go alone, and I’ve even been there with 4 or 5 of them for some “night sledding”. Fun times.

  40. Katie January 25, 2016 at 7:30 am #

    When school was closed one day about two weeks ago, some boys about age 14 came round looking for shoveling work- you bet I hired them! My own sons are 6 & 4; they like to help but they’re not quite up to the entire job.

  41. lollipoplover January 25, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    I don’t know how we’ve turned a fun outdoor activity like sledding into a bureaucratic mess:

    Sorry, I will try not to judge parents who pull their kids up the hill. I’m not talking toddlers here. It’s older kids who throw tantrums in the middle of the hill and use their parental escorts as slaves to order around and block the hill, creating more obstacles for other sledders. Collisions are dangerous! I also don’t like it when other parents yell at older tweens who are off to the sides making jumps to have more sledding fun and these parents feel the need to police them because their kids might want to try that too and they can’t say no to them. Sledding hills can have little kid runs and big kid runs too.

    As for helmets, I send my older tween with a helmet. She has a sledding snowboard and LOVES it but head injuries are a legit concern. For little hills and small runs, no helmet, but the bigger hills they can get enough speed to do some serious damage. Head injuries are the leading cause of serious sledding accidents. You can put a cast on a broken arm but not a broken brain. So she will wear a helmet when she sleds with her board (and do her best to avoid collisions with the parent/child combo that is increasingly frequent on the hills, sadly).

  42. Doug January 25, 2016 at 9:20 am #

    I’ve got a couple small hills by my house. A larger one on the back of my property goes down towards a lake, so that’s off limits (the ice never gets thick enough for my tastes, although our smaller and lighter neighbors were ice-skating yesterday). Most of my surrounding land is farmland (fairly flat) or wooded (not good for sledding!).

    There is a bigger hill at the city park, but there hasn’t been enough snow to make it out yet. And it’s supposed to rain tonight. It’s far enough away that I have to drive them there, but I think that will be a good field trip once we do get snow again. He can sled; I’ll be in the car, reading a book and sipping some coffee.

  43. Sylv January 25, 2016 at 9:57 am #

    Question from a non-parent: Are the helmets insulated in some way? If not, will they fit over hats or ear muffs?

  44. lollipoplover January 25, 2016 at 10:55 am #


    We use these for skiing and *big* sledding/snowboarding:

    It has a liner and ear cover so they don’t wear anything underneath unless it’s very cold and they wear a thin face mask and ski goggles, if it’s snowing. My daughter (12) is in her middle school ski club and they require helmets. On the last trip, she said that 2 kids cracked their helmets! That’s 2 brains saved right there. I grew up skiing without a helmet but now wear one (even though I ski much slower now than I did when I was younger). Not so much that I worry about falling or skiing into a tree- it’s the collisions. I don’t have those cat-like reflexes like I used to…

  45. Sylv January 25, 2016 at 11:02 am #

    @ lollipoplover, thanks!

  46. Kate January 25, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

    When I was growing up in the ’90s, we always went with my dad. There wasn’t anywhere good to sled within walking distance of our house and my dad (still) loves sledding. Having a parent around doesn’t necessarily imply helicoptering! We always had a good time going with him and he let us do plenty of dangerous stuff. 🙂

  47. KB January 25, 2016 at 8:32 pm #

    By me, kids sled with groups of kids, or with parents, according to family preference and whether or not they drive over to the hills, which happen to be very close to my house. Everybody seems to have a good time. Since snow days come unpredictably, it is a rare time for people to act spontaneously, either with friends or with their family. Definitely not keeping adults from joining communal organizations. You can bllame that on relentless homework supervision, carpooling, and attending kids’ performances. But not on snowy day fun.

  48. Becky January 27, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    My son broke his leg sledding at 4….in my parents back yard….with my uncle. Three weeks later the cast came off and he was back sledding. Kids get hurt, you can’t stop living because of it