Safety First for Fun in the Snow!

December 6th, 2011by admin

Safety First for Fun in the Snow!Here comes the snow! Winter can be a fun-filled season when you get out and enjoy all the activities it has to offer. There are a lot of sports, such as sled-riding, skiing, snowboarding , tubing and more to keep the entire family busy and happy. But the outdoors can be a bit dangerous, as well, and accidents can easily happen in the snow and on the ice. You don’t want to end up in the emergency room instead of playing in the snow. However, It’s easy to have fun and stay safe at the same time, by following a few simple tips and tricks!

Activity Related Accidents

Ice-skating, sled-riding, snowboarding and skiing are great fun. But injuries can easily occur with these activities. In the winter, the local emergency rooms see many more head, neck and abdominal injuries from kids who accidentally hit objects while playing out in the snow. Make sure your children are old enough to know the safest places to enjoy their activities.

Sled-riding is one of the most popular activities of the winter, but sledding accidents can be very serious. Head trauma, broken bones and internal bleeding can occur from a serious accident. Keep kids away from wooded areas and roadways. Watch for areas that are covered with rocks or tree stumps. If your children are younger, make sure you supervise them while they are sled-riding.

Playing on the ice is another popular outdoor activity in the winter, but make sure your kids play safely. When ice skating, ensure that the skates your child wears are fitted properly and supportive, and provide elbow and knee pads. Remember, ice-skating rinks are much safer than ponds. But if the only place you can skate is a pond, make sure to test the ice yourself, and always supervise your kids. Ice can break easily, and drowning and hypothermia can happen in the blink of an eye.

Snowmobiling is also a popular choice, but these machines can go fast and can be very dangerous. Helmets and eye gear should be worn, and adult supervision is required at all times with young children.

At Home Illnesses

Keep your family safe this winter season by ensuring that they take care of themselves indoors. Make sure everyone understands the importance of hand-washing, especially after sharing toys, before and after eating, and after blowing one’s nose. This will help prevent the spread of viruses.

Snow shoveling is a necessary part of the winter activities. It can be great exercise for some, but beware of young children helping out. Older kids can help shovel snow, but muscles can easily be pulled and strained from lifting those heavy shovelfuls of snow. Don’t let younger kids over-do it. Very young children can participate with smaller shovels, although they may have more fun just throwing the snow around!

Many kids have so much fun playing out in the snow that they don’t realize it is time to come in. To keep frostbite from occurring, check your children at regular intervals. Make sure that they are not too cold and that their hands and feet are dry. Insist they take a break and warm up if they have been out too long.

Going out in the Cold

kids playing in snowWhen your children are ready to hit the snow piles, make sure they have a good snack first. The calories will help to give them the extra energy they will need while out in the cold. Sunscreen is also a good idea, because even in the winter, the snow can reflect nearly 85% of harmful UV rays on our kids.

Dress your kids warmly and in layers. That way, they can take a layer off if they get too wet and still stay outside. Cotton clothing is not the best choice for cold-related activities, as it doesn’t keep kids warm enough. Go with wool or other kinds of fabrics instead. Choose a good pair of long underwear, turtlenecks to keep the neck covered, sweaters and warm coats. Look for waterproof jackets and pants, such as snowsuits, that will repel the water and keep clothing dry. And of course, warm socks, preferably thick ones, along with a pair of waterproof boots, will complete the outfit.

All kids have different cold-weather tolerances, so it’s hard to set an actual time-limit to being outdoors. But remind them that if they are too cold, to come in and warm up. Keep extra gloves on hand for them to switch up when their hands become too wet. Sometimes, a pair of dry gloves can do the trick!

In Case of Emergency

Children are more than likely to get frostbite than adults are. To prevent it, make sure that they dress as warmly as possible, and that their hands and feet do not get wet. If the weather is too extreme, limit times spent outdoors.

Frost nip, an early sign of getting frostbite, leaves the affected skin numb and white. If your child experiences this, bring them inside, remove all of their wet clothing, and immerse the chilled part in warm water. You don’t want hot water- 104-108° F will do. Keep their affected area immersed until they are able to feel sensation again. If in doubt, or sensation does not return, a trip to the local ER is a must. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Frostbite mostly happens to the fingers, toes and ears. The nose and cheeks can be affected, as well. The area that frostbite occurs on will be extremely cold and will turn white or a yellow-gray color. Your child needs to be seen at the nearest ER if frostbite occurs, without delay.

Finally, if you are going on a road trip during the winter, it is essential to have an emergency kit in your car. Include a first aid kit, heavy blankets, extra gloves and hats, and even changes of clothing. Water and dry food may also be a good choice, in the event you get stuck in the snow. A jumper cable kit is also essential.

Winter can be just as fun as the warmer months. Practice common sense and safety and make this season one to remember!

This post was writen by Erik Braunitzer of Douglas Elliman Real Estate Company, agents for New York City Rentals.

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