Toboggan To Dos

Tobogganing and Safety
Toboggan To Dos

If you grew up in Canada, it’s likely your parents have photographic evidence of your daredevil youth (read: careening down a huge, snowy hill on a piece of cardboard with no helmet). Thank goodness we are still here to tell the tale.

While we can relate to our parents’ need to cure cabin fever and ensure we get enough fresh air, we know there are safer ways to enjoy tobogganing and avoid the emergency room. So, we were delighted to discover some great new toboggans for younger children, that help with maintaining a little more control than those old rickety sleds of our youth.

The Latest and Greatest
For the five years and up crew, we were impressed by the Zipfy Freestyle Mini Luge. The Zipfy’s design was inspired by the Bavarian love of riding downhill on snow shovels. Despite its daredevil origins, the result is a sled that allows children to stay facing forward, hold on throughout the ride, intuitively turn just by leaning to the side and brake with their feet. Kids just sit on the black pad facing the handle and hold on for a great downhill experience. It is also lightweight enough for them to carry back up the hill and comes in five fantastic colours! The Zipfy Freestyle Mini Luge is available at Canadian Tire, or online at

Pelican Snow RunnerTandem Tobogganing
One of the best ways to amp-up the safety factor for kids speeding downhill is to ride with them (you’ll be surprised at how much fun it is). For your shared sled experience we recommend the Pelican Snow Runner, made of super-sturdy plastic and complete with handles at the front and on the sides (critical element for dragging back up hill). We also appreciate the deep grooves on the bottom. This keeps the toboggan facing forward and helps prevent tipping. But the price is what truly won us over. You can find a Snow Runner at Canadian Tire.

Baby Sled DeluxeBabies Love the Ride
For the youngest thrill-seeker in your family we discovered the Baby Sled Deluxe—sounds fancy, we know! This great sled is designed specifically for children under two. It has a rigid back that keeps baby upright, a belt to keep them in place and a grooved bottom to keep the sled facing forward. This slick ride also has a weather cover to keep baby from getting too much of an outdoor experience and helps it transform into a post snowstorm transportation vehicle. The long pull cord lets you drag baby where strollers cannot go. Despite the fancy name, the Baby Sled Deluxe has a not so deluxe price tag. Get yours at Canadian Tire for $29.99.

Now that you have the right sled, make sure you know the rules to ensure a fun and safe visit to your local hill:

  1. Wear a helmet. No arguments.
  2. Pick a hill that is age-appropriate for your child. Sometimes the mild incline at the local playground will be more than enough fun.
  3. Go on a day with hill conditions that are snowy, but not icy and make sure visibility is good. At dusk or during a blizzard are not good times to be tobogganing.
  4. Walk the hill first. Make sure there are no trees, rocks, holes, fences or other hazards or obstructions in your child’s way. Remember to ensure that a wide area is safe for riding. Kids don’t always go straight.
  5. Avoid hills that end at roadways, sidewalks or frozen bodies of water like rivers or ponds. The best hills are ones which have a level run-off at the end so that the sled can come to a halt safely.
  6. Watch for other sledders and coordinate taking turns on the hills to avoid collisions.

So get out there and embrace winter. And don’t forget that grown-ups need to be dressed just as warmly as the kids, too!


Tested by Martha C., Toronto
Tagged under sports, outdoor, winter, fun
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First published 2009.02.10

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