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Winter Sport Safety

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Snow? Yippee! Get out those sleds, skates, snowboards, and skis! Winter can be a time of great fun. Many families enjoy the weather by skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and sledding. However, these activities can lead to injuries. 

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, snowboarding accounts for one-quarter of all sports injury related emergency department visits in the winter.

Age Recommendations

  •  Sledding: Children younger than 5 should only sled with an adult.

  •  Snowboarding: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that only children 7 years or older snowboard. 

  • Snowmobiling: The AAP also says that only children 6 years and older should ride on snowmobiles. Children should be 16 years or older to operate a snowmobile.

Don't let an injury spoil your winter fun!

Activities like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, hockey and sledding are great ways to get outside during the long, cold winter months, they can also be dangerous. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people suffer injuries from these and other outdoor winter sports. Winter sports rely on ice, snow and hills to determine the speed of activity. This heightened speed is what causes many of the injuries.

Following a few safety tips can help you and your family have a fun and safe winter.

Getting Ready for Outdoor Fun

  • Dress warmly. Wear a winter coat, hat and gloves, and slip-resistant snow boots.

  • Make sure your child is in good physical condition. Take frequent breaks to hydrate, refuel and recover. Muscle fatigue can increase the risk of injury.

  • Always use appropriate equipment and make sure it is in good condition and fits properly

  • If skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice skating, or sledding, make sure to wear a helmet to prevent a brain injury. There are special helmets made for skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. For ice skating or sledding, a multi-sport or bicycle helmet would be a good option if a ski helmet is not available.  The helmet must fit properly to be effective. Replace any helmet that has taken a significant blow.

  • Know your child’s limits.

  • Consider professional lessons to teach proper technique, rules, and safety.

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