When it snows, you have two choices. Either shovel or make snow angels. Even most adults would prefer making snow angels, but it is a given that children love playing in the snow. It is important, therefore, that parents take precautions to keep their children safe and teach them how to stay safe when playing in the snow.
Parents should first be aware of the weather before allowing children to even go out in the snow or in any winter weather. It’s important to be cognizant of the temperature and the wind chill factor and dress children accordingly. Making sure children are dressed warmly enough is an essential part of participating in any outdoor winter activities. Parents should have their children dress in layers that can be taken off or put back on, as necessary.
Parents should know and teach their children to recognize the signs of hypothermia and frostbite. Parents should be vigilant in regard to checking on their children for weather related illnesses. Small children don’t always recognize that they are getting too cold or that their skin is too exposed to the cold temperatures or wind chills. It is the parents’ job to make sure their children are protected from the extreme winter weather.
If children are going to sled, parents should take precautions to make sure the sled is in safe condition. It shouldn’t have cracks or be otherwise in disrepair. It should have workable handles that children can easily hold.
Statistics from the Consumer Products Safety Commission report that there are approximately 46,000 sledding injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms each year, most of which are head injuries to children under the age of 15. Making sure that children wear helmets when sledding is a given.
Choosing a safe location for sledding is paramount. Parents should choose a hill that is appropriate for the children. It shouldn’t be too steep or too large for the age and size of the children sledding. The hill should be free of trees, open water, roads and any obstacles that could be hazardous.
Children should be taught how to sled safely. Parents should teach their children to sled sitting up and with their feet facing forward. Such a position will allow children to see where they are going and be more in control while sledding downhill. Parents should instruct children that, if they should fall off the sled, to roll to the side and get out of the path of the sled. Parents should teach children that, if their sled gets out of control, they should roll off to the side to safety. Parents should also instruct children to inspect the hill before beginning their descent to make sure the path is free of any obstacles or any other children who are sledding on the hill at the time.
It is safer if parents are present while children are sledding as they can better help children make wise decisions about sledding. It is also a good idea for parents to be present in case of an accident or emergency.
Picture credit: Cindy Kalamajka