Winter Fun – Injury Prevention Tips

From Issue: 
January 2014

Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for Canadian children and youth between the ages of one to 14. Injuries are preventable, and there are many steps parents and caregivers can take to safeguard children as they enjoy winter activities.

Equipped for safety

When your children are playing — whether in a team sport like hockey or unstructured fun like tobogganing — keep them safe by taking the right precautions. Prevent head and eye injuries by making sure your children wear the proper safety equipment for whatever sport they are playing. Dress your children in layers to help them stay warm and comfortable.

Tobogganing

Cold Canadian winters allow for many fun activities like tobogganing. Keep safety top-of-mind during these activities because children can be seriously injured if they crash and hit their heads, run into an object or another person, or fall through ice into water. Adult supervision is recommended.

  • Check equipment at the start of each winter season and periodically throughout to make sure it still fits and is in good condition.

  • Make sure your children wear proper safety gear, especially a helmet.

  • Do not allow your kids to sled near roads, parking lots, rocks, trees or fences.

  • Dress your children warmly and in layers, and watch for frostbite on cold days.

  • Put sunscreen on exposed skin: UV rays are a hazard even in winter and on cloudy days.

  • Remove drawstrings and cords from clothing to prevent these items from getting caught or tangled on objects

Ice-skating

  • Make sure children always wear a helmet, as ice obviously makes it easy to slip and fall.

  • Teach children to skate in the same direction as everyone else on the ice. Kids who are slower skaters should stick to the sides of the rink, and you should skate with them.

  • Make sure that young learners have access to proper support by holding your hand or the railing around the rink.

  • If you plan to go skating with children on a frozen lake, river or pond, inspect the ice before starting to skate. Respect local advisories regarding outdoor ice conditions.

  • Never skate near pockets of open water on a frozen lake--this means the ice is thin or you are near a cracked surface.

  • Ensure children wear warm clothing to prevent frostbite or hypothermia.

The Government of Canada has more winter safety tips available at their www.healthycanadians.gc.ca website.