Winter Sports Safety for Children
Winter doesn’t have to keep children indoors, but there are some safety tips to follow for safe play in snowy weather.
It may be March, but it doesn’t look like winter sports will be winding down in the Twin Cities any time soon. Outdoor play is good for your children’s health and great for their bones. Between the ages of 10 and 18, we develop the bone density that we’ll have with us for life. Because childhood is such a crucial time to cultivate strong bones, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that children exercise at least one hour every day.
We encourage exercise, but we also realize that winter’s slippery conditions and freezing temperatures pose risks. Winter sports injuries like sprains, strains, dislocations, and fractures are common this time of year, and many of them happen at the end of the day when children are tired and less alert. We have a few precautions for you to follow to keep your children’s play safe in the snow and cold.
Play in groups. No one, especially children, should play or engage in winter sports alone.
Dress for the weather. Make sure children are warmly dressed with hats, gloves, and several layers of warm, water- and wind-resistant clothing. Footwear should be waterproof, warm, and provide ankle support.
Check equipment. When children are using sports equipment like sleds or skis, inspect their gear before they play to make sure it is in good condition and working properly. Gear includes protective sportswear like helmets, goggles, and protective padding.
Follow the rules. Teach your children to follow the rules of their favorite sports. It’s great if you can arrange for lessons from a qualified instructor if your child likes to ski or snow board. Learning how to fall correctly is part of learning how to participate safely.
Watch the weather. Winter temperatures can drop quickly. When there are weather warnings about storms or severe temperature changes, adjust outdoor plans accordingly.
Teach cold weather awareness. As the mercury drops, the risks of hypothermia and frostbite rise. Talk to your children about finding shelter and getting to warmth and help immediately if they start to experience any of the warning signs of frostbite.
Know when to come in. Injuries happen when we are tired. Especially when children are using equipment like skates, skis, or sleds, it’s better to call it a day before they are exhausted.
It has been a great winter to enjoy outdoor play. Following these safety tips can help children to safely enjoy the snowy activities they love.
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