Ciara and Russell Wilson’s toboggan ride with a newborn is sparking debate


Singer Ciara and her football player husband, Russell Wilson, are visiting China, and they’ve copped some flack for one particular tourist activity.

All aboard!

The family took 3-month-old Sienna and 3-year-old Future on the famous Mutianyu Great Wall of China toboggan slide. Baby Sienna was firmly strapped into a baby carrier, snuggled up to her mum as she rode and Future was following along in a second toboggan, with his step-dad Russell.

Apparently they had a really good time. When Ciara shared as much, posting excitedly about the experience on Instagram, many followers were quick to question the wisdom and safety of taking a ride with such a small baby.

“Is it safe with a baby? Hello???” one – amongst many – reprimanded.

Good question, commenter. Sometimes parents need to make decisions on the hop, especially when travelling. It’s easy to judge from afar, but what was really going on, in this case? 


Great Wall toboggan ride

We did some further investigation into this particular ride and here’s what we found out:

  1. This ride is fairly slow and riders control the speed and brakes
  2. It has some bendy bits and weaves across some spectacular scenery
  3. It IS possible to bump into other riders on the way down
  4. The cars are on wheels, rather than attached to any structure
  5. It looks really fun

We’re guessing this ride seemed like too much awesomeness to miss out on.

This particular toboggan ride doesn’t seem to have any age restrictions, as long as kids under ten ride with an adult. Ciara was abiding by the official rules:

“The sick, the elderly as well as children below the ages of ten or have a height measuring less than 130 cm, must be accompanied by a responsible adult to ride.”

It’s hard to know what the correct decision would be, in this particular case. This writer would not have taken a ride in another country – without knowing what safety and maintenance protocol are in place, but that’s a personal approach.

Assessing the risks

Assessing risks can mean different things to different people, it’s clear.

Most parents will have navigated challenging experiences while travelling – local transfers without proper car seats, accommodation without pool fencing and generally adventuring into the unknown.

Deciding what’s safe and what isn’t can be a real dilemma, especially when on unfamiliar territory – and perhaps that’s the real issue here?

Some commenters suggested Ciara and Russell should think about safety standards at a comparable operation such as Disneyland, and apply that kind of thinking when considering riding in another country.

“A more mild ride at Disneyland would not allow an infant of this age,” one commenter wrote.

But Disneyland actually does seem to allow infants to go on some rides – apparently many with no height restriction are open to babies if they are accompanied by a parent. 

This whole ride thing seems to be a bit of a grey area – and it’s understandable that people are divided.

The bottom line here is that people were worried for baby Sienna’s safety, and had her best interests at heart. She came out of this ride unscathed – and her mum and dad seem really happy they had the experience together.

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