CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – More snow goes hand in hand with more sledding. The problem is, more sledding often goes hand in hand with more injuries.
Such was the case Sunday when many New Castle residents headed to Gedney Park to enjoy the fresh snow delivered by Winter Storm Nemo over the weekend. Safety concerns were brought into focus when a young Chappaqua boy was injured after crashing his sled into a tree, New Castle Police said.
The incident prompted a question on The Chappaqua Daily Voice Facebook page as to whether or not sledding at the park is a good idea or if it is too dangerous. More than 15 users debated the topic with more than 25 comments.
Chappaqua resident Brad Jacobs, who was at Gedney Park on Sunday, said much more precautions could be taken to avoid accidents.
“I had heard stories about it being dangerous and, in my view, what I had heard was very accurate,” Jacobs said on Facebook.
“I saw several collisions and near-collisions. There is absolutely no organized supervision there. It’s a shame because the hills are great but it’s mind-boggling that the town does not send police or other officials there to monitor it,” he said.
New Castle resident Ricky Janowitz disagreed, saying that is the jobs of parents.
“Why should the police be the ones supervising,” asked Janowitz. “The only people to blame are the parents who don’t control their own kids.”
While Janowitz’s point was widely supported, Aurora beauty shop owner and Chappaqua resident Dawn Greenberg pointed out where that logic falls short.
“I agree with Ricky, but bigger kids seem to be there without parents,” she said. “We all know the police are stretched thin, so it would have to be someone else.”
New Castle does provide the following sign in Gedney Park:
This Park is not supervised for Sledding Sledding is dangerous Helmets are strongly recommended
New Castle Superintendent of Recreation & Parks Robert Snyder said the town does not have any plans for further regulations at the moment.
“It is extremely unfortunate that someone was injured,” he said. “But without knowing how the accident happened, I cannot accurately or fairly respond to questions regarding the accident.”
Snyder pointed out that sledding brings the risk of injury just like other winter activities do.
“I have a daughter that I have taken sleigh riding countless times, so I am very sensitive to accidents that can happen while sledding,” he said. “Sleigh riding is not the safest form of winter activity, any more than skiing is.”
At the end of the Facebook conversation, Chappaqua resident Amy Goodman pointed out the moral of the story.
“There is a Chappaqua child who is hurt,” she said. “Hopefully they are ok and the parent is getting the support needed from town residents. Please, let’s not blame parents. After bringing up three kids here, accidents happen.”