Ski, Sled and Skate Safely

When the thermometer drops, winter sports beckon. With these new activities come opportunities for injury. Take steps to keep your children safe on the slopes, ice or anywhere else their cold-weather adventures take them.

  • Strap on a helmet. More than 12,000 Americans under the age of 16 sustained head injuries from winter sports in 2010. Choose helmets that fit snugly and do not shift. Letting children help select helmets makes it more likely they will wear them without complaint. Make sure your children always wear appropriate helmets when skiing, sledding, snowboarding, skating or riding a snowmobile. “A properly worn helmet could mean the difference between a minor injury and severe head trauma in the event of a fall,” says Sean McNeeley, MD, Network Medical Director of University Hospitals Urgent Care and UH Rainbow Urgent Care.
  • Prepare your body. Get in shape to ski or skate — condition muscles before the season starts. Warm up and stretch before each activity. Begin with a slow and easy session.
  • Go to class. Take a lesson or two, especially for skiing or snowboarding. Instructors can teach your children proper form and how to fall safely.
  • Get the right gear. Ensure boards, skates, bindings that connect boots to skis and other equipment is in working order. Get it checked at a certified shop. Do not forget goggles, gloves, padding, wrist guards and other protective pieces appropriate for different winter activities. “Parents should make sure that children wear the proper safety equipment when skiing or snowboarding. They should also watch their children closely, limiting their outdoor playtime and ensuring that they are appropriately dressed for the weather.”
  • Make sure children quit while they’re ahead. Many injuries occur at the end of the day, when children get tired but try one last run or lap. If your child appears fatigued or in pain, it is time to take a break or stop. “Winter sports can be fun for the entire family,” Dr. McNeeley says. “These simple safety precautions can help prevent your child's adventure from ending at an urgent care center or emergency room.”

mcneeley-sean Sean McNeeley, MD
Network Medical Director
University Hospitals Urgent Care
and UH Rainbow Urgent Care Preventing Winter Sports Injuries

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