Play it safe in the winter
(Jan. 18, 2012) — Winter creates an ideal setting for fun. Sledding, ice skating and skiing are just three of the activities that make the season so enjoyable. But it's also a time to be careful.
Each winter, hospital emergency rooms treat hundreds of youngsters for frostbite and other injuries related to outdoor activity. The Minnesota Safety Council offers these suggestions to keep your children safe while they're out in the cold:
- Dress children warmly. Clothing should consist of several layers and include boots, mittens or gloves, and a hat.
- Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play. Call children in periodically to warm up with warm drinks such as hot chocolate.
- Since infants lose body heat quickly, limit the amount of time they are outdoors when it is colder than 40 degrees.
- Make sure children only skate on approved surfaces. Check for posted signs or call local authorities to find out which areas have been approved. Children should never skate alone.
- When sledding, look for terrain that is free of obstacles and far from traffic. Children should sled on gently sloping terrain covered with packed snow, not ice.
- Make sure children's sledding equipment is sturdy and safely constructed. Sled seats should have energy absorbing pads. Avoid equipment with sharp or jagged edges, equipment that isn't easily steered and makeshift sleds.
- Teach children to always sit up while riding downhill, as lying flat increases the chance of head and abdominal injuries.
- Never ride in a sled that is being pulled by a motorized vehicle.
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