Did you know that each winter 24,500 kids are injured in sledding accidents? About 3,000 of these kids suffer a serious brain injury as a result. Winter activities don’t have to be dangerous or have tragic consequences if safety is a top priority.
Following these tips to keep your kids safe while playing in the snow:
- Always supervise your child while he or she is sledding.
- Wear a helmet.
- Require your child to sled sitting down, face forward only.
- Teach sled control — how to control the sled, fall off safely and stop.
- One person to a sled, unless specifically designed for more than one rider.
- Always supervise your child while he or she is skating.
- Secure loose articles of clothing like scarves so they don’t catch on a skate and cause a fall.
- Skaters should wear protective gear including a helmet, wrist guards and knee pads.
- Check your child’s skates for a proper fit — they should fit snugly, be laced at top, and the laces should be tucked in.
- Consider lessons.
- If skating outdoors, choose a location approved and maintained by your community.
- Keep sidewalks and driveways well shoveled and apply material such as rock salt to improve traction.
- Children can easily be hidden by snow drifts and mounds caused by shoveling and plowing. Make sure children under age 10 do not cross streets alone.
- Make sure children wear appropriate shoes and brightly colored clothing (not white) while walking during snowy conditions. Use reflective clothing or stickers for maximum protection.
- Abby Collier, MS, injury prevention manager, Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin