Sledding, skiing and ice skating are big fun in the winter, but can lead to big injuries, too.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds parents to take steps to help their kids avoid injury and make sure they’re dressed appropriately for the cold weather.
“This is the time of year when we see people return from winter break vacations with knee injuries from skiing and hand or wrist injuries from snowboarding. We also see concussions from both these sports,” said Dr. Rebecca Carl of the AAP Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness.
“Helmets are important for skiing and snowboarding,” Carl said in an academy news release. “Gloves with wrist guards are important for snowboarding.”
The AAP offers this advice for outdoor winter play:
- Dress children in thin layers with a wicking layer beneath to keep kids’ skin dry. Make sure they wear a hat, gloves and boots.
- Set time limits for outdoor play to avoid hypothermia and frostbite. Remind children to come inside every so often to warm up.
- Only let your child skate on approved surfaces. Make sure they skate in the same direction as the crowd.
- Never let your child sled near streets, crowded areas, ponds, lakes and trees. Arrange for someone to supervise.
- Use steerable sleds that are sturdy and do not have sharp edges. Don’t use snow disks or inner tubes.
- Look for qualified instructors and programs designed for children if your child wants to learn to ski or snowboard.
- Never use alcohol or drugs before any winter activity.
- Choose safe equipment that is properly fitted when skiing.
- Use helmets approved for skiing and snowboarding.
- Don’t let children under age 16 operate snowmobiles. Never let a child under age 6 ride on a snowmobile.