This winter, an estimated 60,000 kids ages 5 to 14 will visit the emergency room with injuries from winter sports. The right equipment can help keep your child out of the hospital, but don’t forget the basic precautions: dressing in layers, staying hydrated, having adult supervision and getting proper training.No matter what the sport is, it’s important to wear sunscreen (even in subzero weather), drink plenty of water and dress for changing weather conditions. If your child ?- or you ?- becomes distracted or irritable, or begins to hyperventilate, it may be a sign of hypothermia or altitude sickness. It may also mean she’s too tired to participate safely in strenuous activities. Either way, send her indoors to rest and warm up. Heres some advice to keep your tween safe.
Skiing: Helmets are a must for skiing, so buy or rent a ski helmet and look for a seal of approval from the Snell Memorial Foundation or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM International) ?- and have an expert fit it correctly. Many ski resorts require helmets for kids under 16, but it’s important for adults to gear up too. According to a Safe Kids Worldwide study, kids really do learn safety habits by watching adult role models. “Do as I say, not as I do” is not an effective way to teach safety. “Practice what you preach” is.
Sledding: The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends bike helmets for kids under 12. Teach kids to sit upright on a sled and face forward: Think bobsled, not luge. Inspect the hill first to make sure there are no hidden obstacles and that the foot of the hill would not lead sledders into traffic, water or crowds. Also inspect the sled for worn, damaged or loose parts, which could cause a problem at the worst possible moment. And although this may seem like common sense, never tow an occupied sled with a motor vehicle! The rider could fall off at high speed or be overcome by poisonous fumes.