01/10/2015 04:59 EST | Updated 03/12/2015 05:59 EDT

Tobogganing a 'hisk-risk activity,' doctor says

Tobogganing may be a classic Canadian pastime and a great way to get kids outdoors, but it's also more dangerous than many people realize. 

Officials in Hamilton, Ont. have banned tobogganing on city property since 2001 and, in Toronto, there are 14 hills where a toboggan ride will draw a $125 fine. Those hills — in High Park, Winston Churchill Park and Centennial Park, among others — are too dangerous, according to the city.  

"It turns out tobogganing is a fairly high-risk activity," says Dr. Charles Tator, an expert in spinal cord injuries at the University of Toronto. 

Tator says it ranks fourth among sports and recreational activities just behind "diving into shallow water, parachuting and snowmobiling." 

He said he doesn't think that warrants an all-out ban, but people should take precautions. 

"Don't go headfirst on a toboggan," Tator told CBC News. "You need to go kneeling or sitting. That's safer."