Every year, emergency departments treat children injured in sliding accidents. When minor bruises and bumps give way to broken bones and serious injuries of the head and spinal cord, it's a sign that parents and children should be reminded of safety while playing outside.
There are several precautions you can take that can help protect your child against injuries. The safest tobogganing hills have no trees, fences, rocks, wires, or other objects that may pose a risk of injury. A young child should always be under the watchful eye of a parent or adult. A Canadian Standards Association (CSA)-approved hockey helmet, with a warm hat under it, is recommended for children no matter their age. It is dangerous to wear long scarves while sliding, as they can increase the risk of choking, so neck warmers or tube scarves are a safer alternative. Always make sure that your child's toboggan or sled is in good condition. Remember, certain positions on a sled are better than others at minimizing the risk of injury:
- Kneeling provides the most protection.
- Lying on the stomach increases the risk of head injury.
- Lying flat on the back increases the risk for spine injury.
Teach your child:
- to be aware of his or her surroundings
- to watch out for other sliders
- to avoid sliding down the hill in the direction of a road, parking lot, river, or pond
- to walk to the side and away from the sliding path when walking up the hill
- to go indoors when their clothing is wet and they feel cold to avoid hypothermia and frostbite
Knowing how to help prevent injuries can make for a fun and enjoyable winter for your child.
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