Careful not to slip-slide your way into a winter sports injury

Lois Lee, MD, MPH works in Children’s Emergency Department Injury Prevention Program

Having grown up in Florida, I never The boy laying on snowunderstood the appeal of winter sports until my son took up skiing. Now, to keep him and his sister active in the winter, we enjoy skiing, sledding and ice skating. These are great family activities, but they do carry some risk. Read on for safety tips to keep healthy while having fun in the cold!

Head injury

Children and adults are at risk for head injuries when participating in winter sports, either from running into another person or into a stationary object like a tree. Research has shown that wearing sports helmets can decrease brain injury risk. If you or your child has a head injury when skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snow tubing or skating, you should contact your doctor or be seen in the Emergency Department if any of the following symptoms are present:

  • Not acting right, or acting “out of it”
  • Sleepy or lethargic
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Severe headache, a headache that is getting worse or a headache that does not improve with medication

Cold weather injury/hypothermia prevention

It’s important to wear appropriate clothing and to dress in layers to stay not only warm, but also dry. Check in often with your children to make sure they aren’t wet, cold or shivering. Make sure they stay away from lakes or ponds, which may appear frozen on the surface, but may not be strong enough to support even a child’s weight.

How do you keep your children both active and safe during the winter months?