Flying down a hill on a sled can be an exhilarating winter activity for any child.
Last week, however, the community was reminded of just how dangerous it can be if safety is overlooked. At 5:48 p.m. on Friday, 5-year-old Isabella M. Stanford was struck by a Jeep Cherokee on Foote Avenue and later succumbed to the injuries that she sustained.
According to the Center on Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, it is estimated that nearly 230,000 children and teens were treated for sledding-related injuries in emergency departments between 1997 and 2007. In that same study, it revealed that children sledding on streets were more likely to suffer head injuries or be hospitalized due to the proximity of vehicles.
Vehicles aren’t the only danger for children that are sledding, though.
“When they’re out sledding, kids need to watch out for each other, too,” said John Williams, City of Jamestown parks manager. “They need to make sure they don’t slide into each other and pay attention to other people on the hills.”
In Jamestown, there are still some safe havens for area children to use for their winter activities. The bandshell at Allen Park is one of the most popular locations now that the new residence halls at Jamestown Community College have blocked off a large portion of Stadium Hill. Thursday afternoon, there were several children using the bandshell hill as their play area, all being closely supervised by the grandmother of one of the children.
“A little supervision can go a long way,” she said.
The sledding at the Allen Park bandshell is focused away from the roads and a single adult at the top of the hill could easily watch over children no matter where they were in the area, making it one of the safest places in the city for children to sled. The smaller hills left at Jamestown Community College also make for a safe haven for children looking to have fun during the winter, although Williams said that the college no longer endorses sledding on their property.
Williams noted the lack of areas for children to play during the winter, saying, that other than the bandshell, there aren’t many places in the Jamestown parks system for kids to go.
“There are a few small hills over towards Persell Middle School, but nothing much other than that,” he continued. “Years ago, there used to be Reservoir Hill, but that’s been abandoned for years now.”
For those looking for a slightly bigger thrill, local ski areas like Peek’n Peak and Holiday Valley also have tubing parks available for a small fee.