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Put Safety First During Winter Fun

Serious injuries can happen to kids if precautions are skipped, experts say

SATURDAY, Dec. 29, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Winter sports provide kids with great exercise and fun, but proper safety measures are needed to prevent injuries, say pediatric trauma experts.

"We see a startling number of injuries among children, from sledding accidents to snowmobile crashes and beyond," Amy Teddy, manager of the pediatric injury prevention program at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, said in a prepared statement. "That's why it's so important for parents to make sure their children have taken the proper safety precautions before heading out into the snow."

Teddy and Cindy Wegryn, pediatric trauma coordinator at Mott, offer the following winter sports safety tips:

  • Children should wear a helmet when they're snowboarding, sledding, snowmobiling and skiing.
  • Dress to keep warm and safe. Wear layers of clothing and top it off with coats that are wind- and water-resistant. When snowmobiling, make sure that scarves and any loose fabrics are tucked in.
  • Parents should always supervise young children and keep them in sight. Older children should always have at least one companion.
  • Don't play on ice, which poses a serious fall risk. When skating, use ice only in areas designated for skating, and check for cracks and debris on the ice.
  • When skiing, snowboarding or sledding, always make sure the path is clear of people and other obstacles.
  • Only take part in winter sports in areas well-lit by sunlight or artificial light.
  • No matter what the winter activity, always think about safety. For example, never pull your child in a sled behind a snowmobile or other motorized vehicle.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers more winter safety tips.

SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, December 2007
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