Welcome to the Community Safety Zone for January 2019 !
Winter provides us with many opportunities to be outside and enjoy many fun activities. These activities should be undertaken with some precaution to ensure the most pleasurable experience.
Certain injuries are more common in the winter season because cold-weather activities such as ice skating , sledding, snowboarding and skiing can lead to accidents, especially for kids, if proper precautions are not put in place. The following are some helpful hints to have an activity filled, yet injury free, winter season.
When skiing and snowboarding make sure that helmets and protective goggles are used. Skiers should check the safety bindings to ensure they are functioning properly while snowboarders should always wear gloves with built in wrist guards to avoid wrist injuries. It is always preferable to ski or snowboard with a “buddy” and to stay on trails consistent with your skill level. The investment in lessons is always great for children to give them confidence and the basic skills of stopping and slowing down to avoid losing control.
Sledding is a great winter activity, yet injuries to the head ,neck and abdomen can be very serious when the sledding is not undertaken in a safe manner. Helmets are always a great idea. Always wear a ski or hockey helmet – not a bicycle helmet – while sledding. Bicycle helmets are only tested up to -10ºC (14ºF) and need to be replaced after one crash. If you use a hockey helmet, make sure it meets the Canadian Standards Association standards. Always sit up or kneel on a sled. Lying down can increase the risk of injury to the head, spine and stomach.
It is also important to know where your kids will be sledding to ensure it is not too steep, free of obstructions (such as trees) to potentially crash into, that it is away from busy roads or water and that the terrain does not have rocks or other objects hidden under the snow. It is always wise to supervise your kids when they sled and to ensure they walk up the side of the hill to avoid others coming down the middle.
Ice skating is always a great time and should be done while wearing a helmet. Skates should have blades that are sharpened and that fit the skater. Skating on rinks is always safer than skating on ponds or rivers but if a rink cannot be found ensure that you skate with a friend. Never assume it’s safe to skate on a lake or pond. An adult should make sure the ice is at least 10 cm (4”) thick for skating alone or 20 cm (8”) for skating parties or games. Do not walk on ice near moving water. Ice formed on moving water, such as rivers and creeks, may not be thick enough to be safe.
Kids are at a greater risk of frostbite than adults, and the best way to avoid it is to ensure they are dressed warmly and that they do not spend too much time outside in extreme weather. Check often to see that your child is warm and dry. Younger children should take regular breaks and come inside for a warm drink.Help children choose play areas with a warm shelter nearby (e.g., near home or a friend’s home). Apply sunscreen to exposed skin, even when it’s cloudy.
With some simple precautions we should all enjoy the fun activities of the season !!!
We appreciate hearing your comments, receiving your concerns and taking suggestions for future Community Safety Zone topics. Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.