No one tracks how many cities have banned or limited sledding, but the list just keeps growing year by year.
SF Gate reported, one of the latest is in Dubuque, Iowa, where the City Council is moving ahead with a plan to ban sledding in all but two of its 50 parks.
“We have all kinds of parks that have hills on them,” said Marie Ware, Dubuque’s leisure services manager. “We can’t manage the risk at all of those places.”
In meetings leading up to the ban, Dubuque council members lamented the move but said it was the only responsible choice given liability concerns and demands from the city’s insurance carrier.
They pointed to judgments in sledding lawsuits in the past decade, such as a $2 million judgment against Omaha, Nebraska, after a 5-year-old girl was paralyzed when she hit a tree and a $2.75 million payment when a man in Sioux City, Iowa, slid into a sign and injured his spinal cord.
The bans in communities in Iowa, New Jersey, Nebraska and Indiana, as well as one town in Illinois even went as far as to remove a 20-foot mound where families had taken to having fun. They justified it by saying people will “just ignore it anyway”.
Omaha tried a “test ban”, only to conclude that people would ignore it anyway. The Washington Post reported.
Research says that about 20,000 people 19 or younger are treated for sledding-related injuries in emergency rooms each year (boys more than girls, 10-to-14-year-olds more than other ages). Only about 4 percent of those cases require hospitalization.
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