Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Hold On

Nine months of the year Chris and I try to be as active outdoors as we can with the minions.  We go on hikes, we check out new parks, we go on evening walks, you name it, but during the winter we have a tendency to hibernate.

As a child I had two favourite childhood memories, 1) going to the local skating rink during Friday night Public Skate where my friend T. and I harassed the workers into playing one side of our Dirty Dancing Soundtrack cassette while we pretended that we were Baby and Johnny Castle (AKA Giggled maniacally and skated around) followed by hot chocolate and 2) Tobogganing for hours, also followed by hot chocolate.  Chris' favourite winter childhood memories have to do with cross country skiing along a frozen creek while listening to Wilson Phillips Hold On.  Chris and cross country skiing really has nothing to do with this post, beyond me enjoying picturing my adolescent husband singing, "Some Day Some body's going to make you want to turn around and say goodbye" at the top of his lungs in some Southwestern Ontario parkland while he cross country skis.

My concern lies with the fact that many places, townships etc. are banning one of my favourite childhood winter activities: Tobogganing.  What's next, a hot chocolate ban?  A Wilson Phillips Ban?

snowy tree

I understand that tobogganing poses a greater accident danger risk than say, puzzling, but I also know that there is very little that gets me, or my children, outside and active in the winter and that hitting a hill for an hour or two on a crisp clear day is fantastic exercise.

I am a firm believer in modified "free-range" children.  Basically we try to eliminate the most dangerous items and situations from the minion's reach, but we let them take calculated risks to expose them to a smidgen of Darwinism/ the concept of "THAT IS REALLY NOT A GOOD IDEA!"  I think some of this has to do with my obsession with the show Bubble Wrapped Kids that I watched fanatically during the first year of Molly and Jack's life.

All of that being said, I'm still going to take my kids tobogganing and think that this is an amazing winter activity, especially when you take the correct precautions.

Here are some suggested safety tips, which include a lot of common sense,  for an enjoyable tobogganing experience (Please note: I assume no responsibility for some of the ridiculous stuff that other people's children do):

9 Common Sense Tobogganing Safety Tips

  1. Only toboggan during daylight (or on a well lit hill).
  2. Always sit or kneel facing forward.
  3. It is recommended that children under five are accompanied by an adult, or at least a big kid who can help them navigate the hill.
  4. Select a hill with a gradual slope, no obstacles (i.e. trees and large rocks) and make sure there is ample room for stopping at the bottom.
  5. Inspect your sled for wear and tear before you go out. Check to make sure that the brakes work.  Don't use a cracked or broken sled, just throw it out.
  6. When you reach the bottom of the hill, GET OUT OF THE WAY OF OTHER SLEDDERS.
  7. If the hill seems too crowded, it probably is.  Go somewhere else.
  8. Helmets are recommended for adults and children, but especially children.
  9. Leave your pets at home.  No one needs to worry about Lassie's whereabouts while they're hurtling down a hill.
Click here to read 9 important things to note when sledding with toddlers.

Click here for a listing of 10 places to toboggan in Toronto.

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