It is pretty much impossible right now to not see the news and get a little depressed.  While Microsoft is a healthy company and work life has been good here, all is not rosy in the economy in general.  I now feel like a pauper when I travel to Europe as the dollar picture isn't looking good, the real estate market is hurting (which hurts us directly because my wife is a real estate agent), and the latest news is the economy is heading for a recession.  However, things are still not that bad.

Yesterday my wife came home and announced that the nephew of one of the agents in her office died.  He was four years old and was killed in a sledding accident of all things.  You can read more details about it here.  As a father of a four year old and a three year old who desperately want to go sledding my heart went out to the parents.  I simply cannot imagine such a horrible thing happening and I don't know how I could manage to live day to day if something happened to one of our boys.

So, although some people already have or will lose their homes, jobs, and money in the next several months, things really aren't all that bad.  I'm sure these poor parents would glady have traded their home, jobs, and entire life savings right now.

I spent some time researching sled safety, as my kids still want to go sledding.  The following are general safety tips you should stick to when sledding.

1) Do not sled where there are any obstacles.  The hill should not have a road  or body of water below and there should be no buildings or trees that you have a remote possibility of hitting.

2) At least if the child is young, have him or her wear a helmet.

3) Give the child instruction on how to turn and stop the sled.  Make sure the child understands how to do this.

4) Avoid inner tube, saucer, and disk sleds which have no control.  Ideally, use a sled with a steering mechanism.

5) Supervise your children at all times while they are sledding.

6) Do not sled in areas where there are protruding rocks or where the area is rocky in general.

7) Never sled in the dark.

8) Never pull a sled with a motor vehicle.

9) Never sled head first.  Always sit face forward.

10) Do not use plastic sheets to sled as they can be punctured from objects under the snow.