With snow falling, Capitol officials take a stand against fun

America hates kids.

How else to explain the insistence that kids — or anybody else — not slide down Capitol Hill on those rare occasions when it snows in the District of Columbia?

It’s a familiar story across America where governments are cracking down on sledding because of liability fears, The Hill reports.

“If the forecast holds true, there are many families who will want to enjoy the snow tomorrow,” Capitol Police Board Chairman and Senate Sgt. At Arms and Doorkeeper Frank Larkin said ahead of Thursday’s storm. “Although, for security reasons, the Capitol grounds are not your typical neighborhood hill or playground.”

Larkin said the Traffic Regulations for the U.S. Captiol Grounds prohibit sledding and other recreational activities. He went on to say there are over 20,000 sledding injuries in the U.S each year, a number that comes from an August study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the National Children’s Hospital’s in Columbus, Ohio.

The study found that from 1997 to 2007, emergency rooms in the U.S. treated an estimated 229,023 children and adolescents younger than 19 for sledding injuries which included fractures, cuts and bruises.

To protest the do-nothing Capitol policy, sledders are planning to defy officials this afternoon.

“Children and their parents should able to enjoy sledding on one of the best hills in the city,” D.C. representative Eleanor Holmes Norton said. “This is a one-time waiver that will allow Washington kids to sled while we await a more formal review of the ban, which will likely come after the last snow has fallen in our region. Have a heart, Mr. Larkin, a kid’s heart that is.”

Update 4:41 p.m. – The cops across the river had no problem with fun.

  • Vince Tuss

    Thought this one would be right up your alley. Glad you did it.

    • Back in the day, this was the big sliding and skiing hill in my hometown. That was a main drag below. They installed a rope tow in the winter. They put hay bales at the bottom to keep kids from going into the street. And, yeah, that’s the hospital (which is closed now) at the top of the hill. Lighten up, America.

  • MrE85

    I was just in DC last month, where I didn’t notice anyone sledding on the crusty snow on Capitol Hill. That cute kid in the photo is near the Longworth House Office Building, I think. One of my meetings was in there.

  • >>He went on to say there are over 20,000 sledding injuries in the U.S each year, a number that comes from an August study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the National Children’s Hospital’s in Columbus, Ohio.<<

    No wonder they found so many injuries…who sleds in August??

    😉

    • The bulk of the injuries, from what it says on the web site, were cuts and bruises. Seriously. Cuts and bruises.

  • Jeff C.

    “The study found that from 1997 to 2007, emergency rooms in the U.S.
    treated an estimated 229,023 children and adolescents younger than 19
    for sledding injuries which included fractures, cuts and bruises.”

    And how many of them lead to a lawsuit against the owner of the hill that the sledding occurred on?

    • I’d be willing to bet very few.

      • Jeff C.

        Sorry. Hypothetical question. My point being that the person/people who stopped sledding in order to protect the government from being liable for someone’s sledding-induced scratch was never going to get in trouble anyway.

        • Jeff C.

          Er, I mean rhetorical question.

          • Maybe fire one less cruise missile this year and that should cover any potential court award for the next decade.

  • John

    I bruised my tail bone so badly off a jump we built when I was a kid that I could hardly sit down for days. I had to though. Otherwise mom might have figured it out.

    Sue someone? Not a chance. We were afraid to tell our parents we’d hurt ourselves. They might not let us sled any more.

  • Gary F

    10 years ago I bought a Rubbermaid toboggan. Yep, that Rubbermaid. It rocks. And to add to the excitement, it was recalled because it was deemed to dangerous.

    Life is not risk free.

  • MikeB

    Bumps and bruises were rites of passage growing up, even when sledding. When we were kids you’d have to pry our sleds from our cold, wet mitten covered hands