Winter Sports Safety Tips
Brought to you by Children's Hospital Colorado and Safe Kids Colorado
As days get shorter and the air gets colder, children will start exchanging their soccer cleats for ice skates and skis. While the change of seasons brings fun winter activities, it's important to remember that safety should be an essential part of your plans. Read our expert-reviewed tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter for your whole family.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, ski helmets could prevent or reduce the effects in half for head injuries suffered by children under 15 while skiing or snowboarding.
- Protect their noggin. Kids should always wear a certified helmet when they ski, sled, snowboard, play ice hockey, ice skate or participate in any other winter sports.
- Get the right helmet with the right fit. There are different helmets for different activities-make sure every helmet meets federal safety standards. Proper fit and maintenance are key for safety, so bring your child along when shopping for helmets and other safety gear.
Skiing and Snowboarding
- Lessons are essential. Enroll children new to skiing or snowboarding in a class taught by a qualified instructor.
- Set boundaries. Stay in designated areas and on marked trails and never ski or snowboard alone.
- Find a good hill. A good sledding hill is clear of all obstacles and is not icy. Make sure the sledding hill does not lead to a street, a body of water or a crowded gathering place.
- Sit up straight. It is much safer to sit up with feet forward while sledding and tubing; lying down increases the chance of head and back injuries. Always make sure an adult is supervising.
- Ride safe. Children under the age of 16 should never operate a snowmobile, and children under the age of five should never ride on a snowmobile, even with an adult.
- Get a special helmet. All snowmobile drivers and passengers should wear a certified helmet designed for high-speed motor sports at all times.
- Skip the neighborhood pond. Stick to public indoor and outdoor skating rinks, and always check for posted signs on or around the ice to find out which areas have been approved for ice skating.
- Choose a multi-sport helmet to wear while skating.
- Use swim skills. If the ice breaks, teach children to stretch their arms over the ice and kick as if swimming to crawl back onto solid ice. Have a companion call 911.
- Cover up. Hats protect ears from frostbite and also prevent heat from escaping through the head. And dress children in layers. That way if it gets warm they can remove layers one by one.
- Even on cold or cloudy days, the sun's rays can be harmful. Make sure kids stay hydrated and wear sunscreen with a rating of SPF 15 or higher. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours.
- Recognize that kids learn safety habits by watching parents. So be a good role model and follow these guidelines, too!
For more information and safety tips, visit www.SafeKids.org.