It’s finally time for the winter sport we all love, but there are a few safety precautions to take before hitting the slopes, ice, or snowy hills with your loved ones. Below you will find each winter sport divided with safety precautions you should take:
Our natural instinct when falling is to put our arms out to catch our fall but when we land on ice. However, since ice is a frictionless surface, our arms slide out from under us and we hit our head. Due to this, it is best to use wrist pads to help create a grip on the ice to minimize face/head injuries. Another important way to stay safe on the ice is to wear a helmet. More than 10,000 children each year are treated in the Emergency Room due to ice skating injuries.
Avoid skating on a pond for ultimate safety, however, if skating on a pond is necessary, be sure to check the thickness of the ice yourself prior to sending kids out on it. Always supervise kids when ice skating, especially on a pond.
When it’s finally time to hit the slopes with the family, make sure to bring a helmet that is specifically designed for his/her sport. Bicycle helmets do not provide enough protection. If your child is skiing, make sure their safety bindings are checked yearly for proper function and invest in lessons if they’ve never skied before.
Protective goggles should be worn to protect their eyes for both sports as well as proper gloves. If your child is snowboarding, their gloves should have built-in wrist guards to prevent wrist injuries when falling. The snow may look soft, but the landing is not!
Protecting your head while sledding is often overlooked but crucial to injury prevention for children. A winter sports helmet is best; however, a bike helmet is better than no helmet. Another way to stay safe sledding is to sled during the day when you can see best to make sure there are no bumps, rocks, or poles blocking your path. If your child is 5 or under they should sled with an adult. All children should sled feet first, facing forward.
A few other ways to stay safe sledding include: walking up the side of the hill when done and leaving the middle open for active sledders. The last sledding safety tip is to ride one person at a time and only one person per sled (except for adults riding with a child).
Snowmobiling is an exhilarating sport, but can be very dangerous for children if you do not take safety precautions. It is recommended that children under the age of 6 not ride on a snowmobile and nobody under the age of 16 should drive one. Both kids and adults should wear helmets and goggles (be a good role model!)
If out in the backcountry (not on a group tour) it is to always safest to travel in groups and make sure others know where you are headed, and yield to those with the right of way.
*In Case of Emergency*
Kids are at a greater risk for frostbite than adults are, so make sure they are dressed warmly. Frostnip is the early sign of frostbite and includes red, numb or tingly skin. If frostbite occurs, remove all wet clothing from the child and place it in warm (not hot) water until they can feel sensation again. Frostbite occurs mostly in fingers, toes, ears, nose, and cheeks. Don’t be caught off guard and dress your children in multiple layers!
Stay safe and have fun!
For more information visit kidshealth.org