I live in Utah, and while it’s a balmy 50-something this December in the Valley, I’m only a half hour from Park City, where America’s winter wonderland is in full force. Winter brings out the adventure in all of us, whether we’re risking it on the roads as we travel for the holidays or just experimenting with new snow-inspired adventures. Including the kids in winter activities can be fun, but it’s important to teach them about winter safety and communicate to them about the importance of staying safe.
- With everything that has been learned about the long-term ramifications of concussions, you will see one safety tip common to every winter safety section: You wouldn’t let them ride a bike or skateboard without a helmet, and they shouldn’t be snowmobiling without a helmet either! Sports injuries are common, but a helmet can help.
- Choose the sledding location carefully. The hill should have plenty of room at the bottom for stopping, and it should not drop sledders into or near a street, a lake, or other hazards.
- Choose a hill that is not too steep to prevent serious injury.
- Protect your child’s brain with a helmet.
- Make sure equipment – boots, skis, poles, etc. fit properly.
- Bindings should be adjusted by a professional to ensure the proper fit and release to prevent injuries.
- UV filtering goggles are a crucial and sometimes overlooked piece of equipment every kid skier should have; the reflection of the sun off the snow can cause damage to the eye without them.
- Don’t forget the helmet!
- Wear a helmet. Really.
- New ice skaters should wear knee and elbow pads to protect them from the inevitable falls as they learn.
- If skating outside, only skate in an approved rink or skating area. Never assume a frozen lake or pond is safe for skating.
- Follow the rules of the skate location (skate in the same direction, give space to slower skaters, etc.)
- Protect that brain!
- Teach your kids how to operate a snowmobile, but don’t let them do it alone. Stay with them and snowmobile together.
- Stay on approved snowmobile paths. When you don’t, tragedy happens.
- Never let your kids snowmobile alone; whether you go with them or you send another responsible adult to supervise, it’s simply not smart to turn them loose.
For all winter activities, winter safety begins and ends with being properly dressed. Hats, gloves, coats, and layers of clothing are critical. Less commonly considered items that can really make a difference include lip balm and tissues.