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Winter sporting can be fun, but make sure you know how to keep your kids safe while staying active!

The start of an exciting New Year has arrived and so has January’s winter weather. Winter sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and sledding can be fun, but dangerous. Falls or crashes can cause cuts and bruises, broken bones, and brain injuries.

In 2013, more than 47,000 children were treated in emergency departments for injuries related to sledding, ice skating and snowboarding, and the vast majority of these injuries were preventable. Therefore, it is important to know how to protect yourself and your children this winter.

1. Stay Warm

Wearing the proper clothes will help your kids stay warm and safe outside. Your child’s body needs to stay warm to function and not spend energy trying to warm the body up. You also want to avoid frostbite out in the cold, which can be very dangerous. Hats are especially important because children loose heat from the head and neck the most. It is also important to wear gloves, mittens, and boots for extra warmth.

2. Sunscreen in the Winter

Even though you may not think you can get sunburnt, you still can in the winter! The sunlight reflects off the white snow when you are playing outside. It is recommended that you use a minimum of SPF 15. Lip balm with sunscreen is also recommended to wear while outside, because the cold can leave lips chapped.

 3. Sledding/Snow Activities

Make sure the sled is sturdy, has a handhold easy to grab, and the seat should be padded. Do not use homemade sleds or ones that have sharp edges or broken parts. Wear appropriate warm clothing, and also a bike helmet to protect your head when sledding. Make sure the area is safe: the hill isn’t too steep, there aren’t any obstacles, the area is covered with snow (not ice), and sled in the daytime versus night. It is also important to note that when you sled you should be upright and not lying down. Lying down while sledding puts you at a greater risk for injuries if you loose control.

4. Skating

Skating can be done in indoor venues and following these safety measures is just as important as if you were skating outside. However, make sure you are skating on approved ice. Make sure your ice skates fit properly, but are not too tight. As for hockey, make sure you have all the appropriate gear to wear. Make sure you watch where you are skating, and do not chew gum while skating for the risk of choking.

5. Skiing & Snowboarding

One of the major safety tips is again proper equipment and clothing. Ski boots are important to have fit properly, as well as helmets, goggles, kneepads, and elbow pads.  It is also important to take a few lessons and learn before going out and either skiing or snowboarding. Your chances of sustaining an injury are far less if you are prepared and skilled on how to ski and snowboard.

For more information, please go here.

Stay safe, stay warm, and have some winter fun!

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