The Winter Olympics are here, and with all the snow around you, your kids are probably super inspired to get out there and play. You enjoyed all kinds of winter sports as a kid, without a worry in the world, but now that you are a parent, you can’t help but worry about your kids getting hurt. Before you send your precious cargo out into the snow, you might wonder, how to keep kids safe during winter sports. While winter sports can be dangerous, as long as you follow these five safety tips for your little athlete, they should be OK and still have fun.
The favorite winter activity for my family is ice skating, but I’m sure that my kids will be begging to go skiing after watching Olympians zip and zoom through the lush, snow covered mountainsides. While these athletes might make snowboarding and skiing look like a piece of cake, they actually take a number of precautionary measures to keep themselves safe.
As with any children’s sport, winter sports also require you to prepare your kids with the proper protection. And because of the cold temperatures and slippery ice and snow, you’ll need to be a little more cautious. Pennsylvania pediatrician Dr. Jarret Patton tells Romper that with just a few protective measures and precautions, you can make winter sports much safer for your kids.
1. Keep Them Warm
It’s cold out there, and in some places, temperatures can fall well below freezing. So it’s important to keep your kids warm and toasty for any winter activities. Patton says that protection against the cold is one of the primary concerns of winter sports. “Although they will be active, it is important to dress in layers,” suggests Patton, “and pay particular attention to keeping the hands and the feet warm as well.” So make sure to layer on the thermals, sweaters, socks, and gloves, but if you see your child shivering, take a break in some place warm.
2. Keep Them Protected
Your kids wear a helmet when they go biking, so it just makes sense to keep them in protective gear for winter sports, too. Patton says that concussions are another huge concern with winter sports, so it’s really important that they always wear protective helmets while skiing or snowboarding. Kids Health suggested that kids also wear goggles to protect their eyes from brush or flying debris, and knee and elbow pads to keep them safe in case of a fall.
3. Keep Them Hydrated
It’s a sport like any other, so kids will work up a thirst. Along with dressing your kids in warm layers, Patton says it’s important that they keep drinking plenty of fluids to prevent hypothermia and dehydration. You can keep bottles of water on hand, and if it’s extra chilly, you can keep a thermos of hot cocoa or hot tea to warm them up.
4. Prepare Them For The Activity
Winter sports, like skiing and snowboarding in particular, are not exactly predictable, so you may want to enroll your child in a lesson to give them an idea of what to expect before you push them down a snowy hill. According to Colorado Children’s Hospital, along with enrolling your kids in introductory lessons, it’s important for kids to stretch and warm up their muscles to prevent injuries.
5. Make Sure Everything Fits
When your child is sliding down a mountain, the last thing you want is for their gear to fly or fall off. Kids Health recommended making sure your child is properly fitted for their protective gear and equipment. The article noted that if skiing or snowboarding equipment, including boots and bindings, are too big or too small, they may make it harder for kids to maintain control. The article also suggested considering equipment specially designed for kids, which can be more flexible and easy to manage.
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