Ice Skating: Helmets for ice skating are up for debate among safety experts, but keep in mind that beginners are likely to fall down a lot. For hockey, of course, it’s essential to wear a helmet and protective padding for the knees, elbows, shoulders, shins and mouth. Before skating outdoors on a pond or lake, check with the local recreation department or park authority to make sure the ice is safe. Even if it is, teach your kids what to do if they fall through the ice. They should stretch their arms out wide and kick like they’re swimming. That will keep them afloat as they call for help and try to crawl backward onto solid ice.
Snowmobiling: Everyone on a snowmobile should be wearing a helmet specifically designed for high-speed motor sports ?- not a bike helmet, since snowmobiles can go up to 90 miles per hour. Safe Kids recommends that no one under 6 be allowed on a snowmobile and that no one under 16 drive one. As with skiing or sledding, stick to designated, patrolled areas or scout out the terrain ahead of time.
Snowboarding: This fast-growing sport is the leading cause of serious winter sports injuries among kids ages 5 to 14. Kids should wear snowboarding helmets as well as wrist, knee and ankle protection. With images of extreme tricks and aerial stunts on TV and in magazines, make sure your kids are realistic about what they can do or could try to do. It’s especially important to start with lessons, stay within skill levels and stick to supervised facilities.