Thou Shalt Not Toboggan!

Has your community banned tobogganing on public property yet?

“What?!”  you may ask….168628_1857690161632_6852963_n

“But it’s a Canadian Tradition!”

“It is one of the great joys of a Canadian childhood!”

“It’s a great way for kids to get exercise in the winter months!”

“Getting children outside is difficult enough in the winter as it is!”

Yes, yes, yes and yes. I couldn’t agree more.

My community has fortunately not jumped on this particular bandwagon….yet. However, the list of Ontario communities banning tobogganing is growing.

Cities fear litigation. They’re not wrong to fear that. It’s easy to see why.

In Hamilton, a man won a $900K lawsuit when he suffered a spinal injury after ignoring existing signs and a fence erected to prevent tobogganing in that particular area. Wait…what?

So, even there, the rules already existed, and somehow he still won the lawsuit (on the grounds that the signs weren’t numerous enough and a fence that had been erected to prevent tobogganing was damaged by vandals and not replaced).

Yes, there are risks. Maybe kids should wear helmets? (Though, if someone could invent a helmet that keeps little heads and ears warm, that’d be great.) — (UPDATE Jan 14th: Thanks to a couple of posters here and on Facebook, I now know they make ski and toboggan helmets that are quite warm, as well as snug toques that fit under a hockey helmet. I should have done more research! Great to know!)

Yes, the city should be aware of popular tobogganing hills and do what they can to help keep residents safe.

Yes, in areas tIMG_20150112_154704hat pose specific unseen dangers, warning signs would be a great idea.

No, banning tobogganing on all public property is not the right answer.

At what point do we have to take responsibility for our own actions? Shall I sue the city if I run out in the middle of traffic and get hit, because there wasn’t a fence to stop me or signs saying “don’t run into the road?” Ludicrous.

The legal system is broken.  Could someone please fix it before our children have nowhere left to play?

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6 Responses to Thou Shalt Not Toboggan!

  1. Rob McAllister says:

    I could not agree more. I am sorry to have to tell you the “system” is broken beyond repair. I think you have heard me, perhaps ad nauseam, venting on this subject for the past 34 years. The plaintiff bar, and the sitting judges who were once the plaintiff bar, have seen to that. They are a powerful political lobby whose self interest is paramount.

  2. Jenn says:

    Hi Cathy, ski helmets keep heads and ears super warm without any hats required underneath. My kids will toboggan wearing their ski helmets from now on! Jenn

    • Thanks! We’re not downhill skiers, so I did not even think of that. Good idea! Even bike helmets were not so common when I was a kid, and sledding with a helmet would have been unheard of. Now my kids are this age, this is new territory!

  3. Tara Gauthier says:

    By no means do I think tobogganing should be banned. Helmets are a great idea though, due to risk, especially on icy, long hills of head trauma/brain damage. On a small hill, maybe not necessary or where there is fresh snow. For this reason I do not think it should be mandated to wear helmets. Who is going to control this, and what will happen to those not wearing them?? Lots of kids go sledding on their own so will the kids get a ticket??

    My kids wear helmets, especially since with head trauma my daughter is at risk for further hearing loss. But also because I have NO desire to see them end up injured, with brain damage etc. My son who is older will complain and I ask him if he enjoys things like walking, talking, eating, etc. and explain what severe effects of brain damage can be. Yes these are extreme risk but they need to know them. Yes, injuries can happen in many ways that we are not prepared for but if something can be done to mitigate that risk why not? I for one would not like to have to hear from a doctor that something like this resulted in my child being disabled for the rest of their life.

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