Safety for Winter Activities and Sports

Safety for Winter Activities

Winter is a great time to enjoy sports and other outdoor activities with the entire family. You can help make this winter fun and injury-free by making sure your children are dressed for the cold weather and follow some basic safety tips.

Before heading out into the cold, make sure your children are wearing appropriate clothing. Infants should be kept inside if it is extremely cold. If you do bring infants out in the cold, make sure their faces remain dry and change wet clothing and diapers frequently.

Since significant heat escapes through the head, a good winter hat is essential. A good pair of mittens or gloves is also important, with waterproof ones preferable if your children will be participating in any snow activities.

If you are heading out for a long day outdoors, don’t forget to protect your children’s faces with sunscreen. The reflection of sunlight of the snow can be extremely intense. You may want to put lip balm with sunscreen on your kids as well.

The first safety step to take after the first snowfall is to clear and de-ice your walkways. Make sure your children are on the lookout for icy patches when walking elsewhere and that they never assume that a passageway has completely de-iced.

Shoveling is a great workout but can easily result in back injury if not done properly. If your children are helping you out, make sure they use the proper lifting technique, bending from the knees and not the back.

No matter which winter sport you and family participate in, good equipment will go a long way in helping to avoid injuries. Verify that ski boots and ice skates fit your children properly before they hit the slopes or ice rink. The same applies to hiking boots and even boots for just playing in the snow.

Drawstrings can easily catch on ski lifts and sleds causing injury. Ones hanging from hoods and around the neck area should be removed, while the ones at the bottom of jackets can be shortened. The same risk occurs with scarves, so they should be short and safely tucked in.

For most winter sports, you should insist that your children wear both helmets and goggles and check that they are a good fit. Try to choose goggles with maximum UV protection and impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses to reduce the risk of injury from flying objects and debris.

Since properly functioning ski and snowboard bindings are key to avoiding injury, it is best to leave the adjusting of them to professionals.

As with all sports, it is important for your children to receive proper training to reduce the risk of injury. Try to ensure that all your children take at least a few lessons before participating in a winter sport for the first time.

With skiing, it may be necessary to go over safety rules on the way to the slopes, stressing to your older children that they need to stick to trails marked as appropriate for their level.

Getting outdoors to participate in winter activities is a good way for your family to avoid the winter doldrums and stay in shape. By choosing the right clothing and equipment, you can reduce the risk of discomfort and injury and have a great time.

This resource is only a guide and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or ignore professional medical advice because of something you have read on a website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call a doctor, dial 911 or go directly to a hospital Emergency Room (ER).


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Family Education

Kids Health

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