An abundance of snow no doubt has many Arizonans planning trips to the high country. If your family fun will include sledding, please take along some advice to play safely.
The Arizona State Trauma Registry maintained by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Emergency Medical Services and Trauma System recorded 40 sledding injuries between 2019 and 2021. And these are just the injuries that required care at a trauma center.
To make your sledding adventure as safe and fun as possible:
- Wear a helmet and sled feet first or sitting up to reduce the chances of head injuries, including traumatic brain injury.
- Avoid sledding in areas with trees, pedestrians, parked cars, moving traffic, water, drop-offs and other hazards.
- We join our colleagues at the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) in saying that parking along highways to play in snow is extremely dangerous.
- Never ride a sled being pulled by a car, ATV, snowmobile or other motorized vehicle.
Meanwhile, make sure you’re prepared to spend extended time in cold weather by dressing in layers and wearing gloves, bringing extra clothes and taking extra drinking water, food and prescription medications in case you are delayed. ADOT has many other helpful tips at azdot.gov/KnowSnow.
Being able to travel from mild temperatures to snow in just a few hours is one of the joys of Arizona winters. We want you to have a great — and safe — time if you do.
Rachel Garcia is the bureau chief of EMS and Trauma System at the Arizona Department of Health Services, which is the lead state agency that coordinates, establishes and administers Arizona’s statewide system of emergency medical services, trauma care and registry systems. Garcia is an Arizona native with over 15 years of experience in public health. She previously served as the deputy chief of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response and has assisted with multiple Health Emergency Operations Center responses at ADHS. Before joining the ADHS team, Garcia held various leadership roles in local public health. She was an assistant director of public health in Pinal County, where she oversaw Community and Correctional Health programming. Garcia also served in multiple public health research and community outreach positions at the University of Arizona, where she earned her Master of Public Health and bachelor's degrees and completed Susan G. Komen and National Science Foundation fellowships.