Winter Safety for Kids

Though the temperatures are dropping, winter still provides a whole new aspect of fun for kids. It’s easy to stay safe and still enjoy the cold weather. Certain cold-weather activities can lead to accidents, especially if kids haven’t been properly trained or are not supervised by adults.  Make sure your kids have the right equipment specific to their activity (including helmets!) The most common injuries result from falls or collision with others, so be sure to keep a close eye on them, especially during busy times.

The majority of sledding, snow tubing, and tobogganing-related injuries occur to adolescents age 14 and under. When a sled hits a fixed object such as a tree, rock or fence, the individual is at risk for head and/or neck injuries.

Do not lie down on the sled headfirst. Sit in a forward-facing position on sleds (not plastic sheets) that can be easily steered with the feet or a rope tied to the steering handles of the sled. Only let kids sled in approved locations, away from streets, fences, trees, posts or other obstacles that could obscure the sled path. Parents or adults must supervise children.

Snowmobiling is becoming more and more popular and also comes with its own set of safety tips. All riders should wear goggles and helmets. No child under the age of 16 should operate a snowmobile, and children under six should not ride on them. Be cautious when snowmobiling near other riders, travel at safe speeds and never snowmobile at night.

Always remember to keep kids bundled to avoid hypothermia, frostnip and frostbite (take note that cotton clothing will not keep kids very warm). Be aware of the amount of time kids are spending in the cold, and don’t let them stay outdoors too long in extreme weather.

Reference: American Academy of Pediatrics, “Winter Safety Tips,” January 2013.

Reference: Kids Health, “Cold, Ice, and Snow Safety,” November 2012.

Reference: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “Sledding Injury Prevention,” September 2009.