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Winter sports safety tips for kids.

Jordan December 24, 2012
Two kids playing hockey outdoors.
Though many of your child’s favourite summer sports and activities may be hindered by the cold, snow and ice that winter brings, these same conditions also open up entirely new avenues for fun. Sledding, skiing, hockey and snowball fights number among the many winter activities children have enjoyed for countless years. But just like their summer counterparts, winter activities present certain perils and risks to look out for as well. Iced-over ponds, snow-covered hills and the blistering cold can be just as dangerous as they are fun. This post will delve into some of the simple-yet-effective ways to ensure your child enjoys a safe, fun winter season. Please take a look at CAA’s safety tips for winter sports for kids.

Layers, layers, layers.

Forget slips, trips and falls for now; your number one concern when sending your little one out into the Great White North should be bundling them up to face the harsh temperatures and fierce winds of winter.

  • Dress them in layers; a good rule of thumb is to provide your child with more layers than you would need in the same weather.
  • Don’t forget the hat and gloves! Most body heat is lost through the head and hands, so be firm if your child tries to haggle down to earmuffs and bare fingers.
A young girl in colourful winter attire.
  • Sunscreen is important to defend against burns from bright sunlight and snow glare.
  • It’s likely that their clothes and body will be soaked from a combination of sweat and melted snow, so make sure to quickly change them into something dry to help them warm up.
  • Try to avoid clothing with drawstrings when dressing your child; they can cut off circulation, increase the likelihood of frostbite and, when loose, even present a strangulation hazard.

Out and about.

Most winter safety tips apply to just about any outdoor activity, so whether your child is ice skating, sledding, or playing in the snow, take these tips to heart.
  • Frozen natural bodies of water are unsafe for skating, sliding or sledding over; you should never assume that it’s safe to skate on a lake or pond, even if it looks completely frozen.
  • Also, since many winter activities involve either sliding over a slippery surface or throwing compacted projectiles, it’s important to wear the proper equipment and gear like sports goggles and helmets.
  • Have your child utilize the buddy system. If a high-speed collision with obscured terrain results in an injury, it’s imperative that action be taken quickly; having a buddy with your child at all times could make all the difference.
Two kids playing in the snow.
  • If your child would like to take part in more serious winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding, consider enrolling them in at least one lesson to learn or refresh and understand the fundamentals. Knowing the basics of how to stop, start and turn could save your child from an unfortunate run-in with a tree or bystander.

Keep an eye out.

  • Children are impressionable, so it’s important to practice these good safety habits yourself as well.
  • If your child sees that you’re diligent about wearing a helmet while tobogganing and serious about winter safety, there’s a good chance they’ll more easily adopt those same habits.
A family of four enjoying the outdoors in winter.
  • Nothing keeps young children safer than a parent’s watchful eye, so if your kids are planning on zipping down steep, snowy hills, keeping an eye on them is a great excuse to join in on the fun.

Does your hockey-star-in-training have an away game coming up? Let CAA’s RoadWins program make the road trip as easy as possible. Check the program out on Facebook, where your team can build online communities and excitement prior to your tournament. Find things like checklists, team cheers and photography tips to help you get in game mode. After the tournament is over, share your experiences, upload photos and videos and more.

Helping our members and their families stay safe this winter is a part of our continuing commitment to social responsibility and winter safety.