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Safe sledding tips from Ottawa paramedics

Just like any other activity on ice or snow, wearing a helmet is always a good idea.
toboggan family
Stock photo.

With more of the white fluffy stuff on the way this week, kids - and adults - are getting ready to make fresh tracks on their favourite toboggan.

Ottawa paramedics superintendent of communications Marc-Antoine Deschamps joined The Sam Laprade Show to give his top tips for safe sledding.

"The most important thing is picking the hill that you're going to slide down," said Deschamps.

For sledding enthusiasts, the City of Ottawa maintains an online map of approved hills across the city. The map also provides a description of the hill and its surroundings, as well as an dangers to be aware of.

Just like any other activity on ice or snow, wearing a helmet is always a good idea. Deschamps said any skiing or hockey helmet will do, as long as it fits well and is attached properly. Bike helmets are not recommended as they are often not rated for cold weather and leave little room for a tuque.

"Then you also have to pick your sled carefully," said Deschamps. "We try to stay away from saucers and inflatables that cannot be steered easily as you're going down."

Instead, Deschamps said opt for the classic toboggan, sliding feet first in a seated position to avoid any back or head injuries.

Weather and snow conditions are another consideration. Beware of icy patches that could cause you to lose control or hard bumps that could cause an injury.

One last piece of advice? Look down the hill. You can't see other sledders or obstacles if you aren't looking where you are going.

Listen to the full interview with Marc-Antoine Deschamps on The Sam Laprade Show below.

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