For many athletes, winter is their favorite season of the year. Unfortunately, winter sports safety can be overlooked compared to other seasonal sports and activities.
The Pennsylvania Division of the American Trauma Society (ATSPA) reminds you to put safety first when engaging in winter sports. Winter sports and activities include skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, sledding, ice skating, ice hockey, etc.
A person may be an expert in the activity, or they may be a novice. Either way, ATSPA urges every winter sport athlete take these safety precautions, provided by www.safekids.org:
- Always wear sport-specific, properly fitting safety gear when participating in winter sports.
- Children and adolescents should always wear helmets when they ski, sled, snowboard and play ice hockey. There are different helmets for different activities.
- Parents should wear helmets too. Remember, your children learn safety habits by watching you.
- Dress in layers and wear warm, close-fitting clothes. Make sure that long scarves are tucked in so they do not get entangled in lifts, ski poles or other equipment.
- Stay hydrated. Drink fluids before, during and after winter play. Heat exhaustion and heat strokes can still occur during winter months.
- Kids – or caregivers – who become distracted or irritable, or begin to hyperventilate, may be suffering from hypothermia or altitude sickness, or they may be too tired to participate safely in winter sports. They need to go indoors to warm up and rest. Call 911 if you are worried for their safety.
- Children under six should not ride a snowmobile, and nobody under 16 should drive one.
- All snowmobile drivers and passengers should wear helmets designed for high-speed motor sports. A bike helmet isn’t sufficient for a four-wheeled motorcycle that can go up to 90 miles per hour.
For further information on winter sports safety, contact ATSPA at 717-766-1616. ATSPA is a non-profit trauma prevention education organization dedicated to reducing suffering, disability and death due to trauma. ATSPA strives to help all Pennsylvanians survive and lead healthier lives through its trauma prevention education programs.
For information on their trauma prevention educational materials and/or programs, visit www.atspa.org.