Winter can be a great time to be outdoors. It’s important to set reasonable time limits on outdoor play to prevent hypothermia and frostbite, and have children come inside periodically to warm up.
Here are some other winter fun-time tips to help keep your family safe.
- Children should only skate on approved surfaces. Check for signs posted by local police or recreation departments, or call your local police department to find out which areas have been approved
- Set some rules ahead of time
- Skate in the same direction as the crowd
- Avoid darting across the ice
- Never skate alone
- Do not chew gum or eat candy while skating
- Consider having them wear a helmet, knee, and elbow pads, especially while learning to skate.
- Keep sledders away from cars and other motor vehicles
- Make sure that children are supervised while sledding, and keep young children separated from older children.
- Sledding feet first or sitting up may prevent head injuries. Consider having your child wear a helmet while sledding.
- Use steerable sleds, not snow disks or inner tubes.
- Sleds should be structurally sound and free of sharp edges and splinters, and the steering mechanism should be well lubricated.
- Slopes should be free of obstacles like trees or fences, covered in snow (not ice!), not be too steep (less than 30 degrees slope), and end with a flat run off.
Snow Skiing and Snowboarding
- Children should be taught by a qualified instructor in a program designed for children
- Never ski or snowboard alone
- Young children should always be supervised by an adult. Older children’s need for supervision depends on their maturity and skill. They should ways be at least accompanied by a friend.
- Equipment should fit the child. Skiers should wear safety bindings that are adjusted at least every year, and snowboarders should wear gloves with built-in wrist guards. Eye protection or goggles should also be used.
- All skiers and snowboarders should wear helmets, even if the facility does not require it.
- Avoiding skiing in areas with trees, fences, or other obstacles.
- Avoid crowded slopes, and slopes should fit the ability and experience of the skier or snowboarder.
- The AAP recommends that children under age 16 not operate snowmobiles.
- Do not use a snowmobile to pull a sled or skier.
- Wear goggles and a safety helmet approved for use on motorized vehicles like motorcycles.
- Travel at safe speeds, and never snowmobile alone or at night.
- Stay on marked trails, away from roads, water, railroads, and people.
Remember – the sun’s rays can still cause a sunburn in winter, especially when it’s reflected off snow. Make sure to use sunscreen on your child, and consider using sunglasses.