I’ve lived in the mountains for over 20 years, but not having grown up with snow I have only been sledding a handful of times. Don’t get me wrong sledding is fun, but frankly my idea of enjoying snowy weather involves a cozy window seat, a hot beverage, and a good book.
My kids, however, love sledding, much so we have even gone box sledding in the summer – but that’s a different post. In this part of our series of posts about what to do with a toddler in winter, we’re talking snow sleds. We’ll share our favorite winter sleds for toddlers, and we include Amazon affiliate links to our top picks.
As some of you may know from other posts I’ve written here, there is a large age span between my oldest and youngest children (ten years). With my older kids, it never occurred to me to try sledding before they were 6 or 7 years old, old enough to be interested in sledding of their own accord.
Things are a bit different this time around because not only is my 3-year old interested in going sledding already, but his siblings are equally eager to take him. Prior to trying to find a sled for him I had only a vague recollection that such a thing as toddler sleds existed, and in all honesty, the only type of sled I thought was made for toddlers was one like the Flexible Flyer sled, the first on our list. It turns out there are many more options though.
To make it easier for you to fins a sled for your toddler we’ve pulled together this list of the highest rated toddler sleds.
Our Favorite Toddler Sleds
Recommended ages: 1-3-year-olds
There is something nostalgic about these sleds with a steam-bent ash frame over curved wooden skis. This pull-sled is made for babies and toddlers with a backrest for both comfort and safety. This is a nice sled for towing your little one along on snowy walks. You can even get a sleigh liner to keep cold air from flowing around your baby.
Reviewers have mentioned that they felt they needed to go slowly as they towed the sled or their child could still tip backward, so this may be best for infants and younger toddlers who are excited simply to be in a sleigh, not a little thrill seeker.
This little sled receives high marks for the littlest sled riders. It includes a seat belt so your baby can be buckled in pulled around the yard. Toddlers may also like using this sled to slide down gentle slopes.
The one flaw mentioned is that the bottom is not flat, but contoured instead, so in deeper snow, it can be hard to pull due to snow accumulating underneath; however, it is still a favorite for its stable wide base and the high back.
We’ve discovered that it’s hard to find a smaller inflatable sled or tube. Most are a huge 47″. This one from Wham-o is 33″ making it much better for toddlers and preschoolers. This sled is nice and cushy due to the inflatable seat. An inflatable sled is definitely a favorite for toddlers who want have independence when they play – the air cushion makes them softer and less likely to cause a bruise in case a kid needs to bail out, so toddlers can enjoy trying this on little hills. This sled also includes a tow rope for pulling along your little one.
Recommended Ages: 3-5
This closely resembles the classic Zipfy but was made with children in mind. It is designed for children ages three to five and is easy to steer. This sled also features a feet-first design to help prevent injury and allows the rider to slow down faster. Its compact design allows for its lighter weight, so it is more portable and easier to carry around.
Recommended Ages: 1-3
This sled for kids comes with an integrated back and extended sides to allow for more comfort and support for your toddler. For further safety, it also has anti-slip panels in the foot area. It is made from a cold-resistant plastic that is durable and has been designed to last for years. The weight capacity for this sled is up to 40 pounds and also has a pull rope for easier maneuvering.
Recommended Age: Up to 2
This is the perfect children’s sled for family gatherings because it gives even your toddler the chance to be outdoors playing. It is also full of safety features for your toddler. This pull sled for toddlers has a high back for safety and also features a safety harness and safety strap to make sure your toddler stays in place and upright. The molded seat and outriggers of this sled provide more stability on different terrains and even has a spot for small storage.
Toddler Sled Buyer’s Guide
There are a few things to keep in mind when finding the best sleds for toddlers. We will break down each of these things below to help you as you choose a sled for your next winter outing.
When you look through sled options, you should always research what the recommended ages are for the sleds. Doing so helps ensure that it will be appropriately sized for your toddler and safe for them to use. You will also find that some models have more specific age ranges than others, while some just have minimum recommendations.
After the age recommendations, you should also look into the weight capacity for the sled. Children grow quickly, so when choosing a sled and to get a bigger bang for your buck, you want to have a 20-pound cushion between the current weight of your toddler and the maximum weight capacity listed for the sled.
Types of Sleds
Then you can start looking into all the different types of sleds for toddlers as well. There are wooden sleds, plastic sleds, inflatable sled, foam, and even steel saucers. Wooden sleds will prove to be the most durable, but if you want more speed as you fly down the hill, a flexible flyer steel saucer has a slick bottom and makes for faster sledding. It is really all up to your personal preferences when choosing from the different types of sleds that are available.
Plastic sleds offer more in the way of functionality and tend to be easier for your child to steer while inflatable, and foam sleds offer more comfort and have much more cushioning than the other sled types for toddlers.
Toddler Sledding Safety Tips
While sledding, there are a few toddler sledding safety tips to keep in mind to ensure that everyone has a fun time playing outdoors in the winter. You should also remember to conduct a sled check before sending yourself or child down the hill as well to ensure that the sled is in good condition and safe to use.
Before sledding, make sure you have appropriate and safe gear to help prevent any injuries. Everyone participating in this winter activity should have a safe sled that can be easily controlled and maneuvered, a helmet, and warm clothing, including a hat, gloves, snow pants, and a winter jacket.
Safe Sledding Spots
Next, you want to find only the safest locations for sledding this winter. The hill shouldn’t be too steep, and there should be a large and flat area at the bottom of the hill with a safe place to come to a stop. You want to avoid any areas that end near a body of water, a street, or where there are any other obstacles and hazards like a fence or trees.
It is also best to sled during daytime hours, so you have great visibility. If you choose night sledding with the family, you need to make sure that the area is well-lit and safe for everyone.
Other Safety Tips
When sledding, everyone should be facing forward on their sled with their feet downhill. You should never go down a hill face first because you risk a serious head injury. You should also refrain from standing upright on a sled at any time.
Never jump on a sled either and always keep your arms and legs inside the sled at all times to avoid injury as you go down the hill. When walking back up from the bottom of the hill, make sure to stay to the side and away from the middle where the other people sledding can knock you down.
Make sure that any sleds for kids you are looking at are safe and fit your child well.
If you get a toddler sled, naturally, you’ll need the warm winter gear to go with. We can help with that too:
- Here are our favorite winter boots for toddlers.
- Here are our favorite toddler snowsuits.
- And the best gloves and mittens for toddlers are here.
Happy snow playing! Here is a fun list of snow activities that toddlers can do.