Winter break can make some children really anxious to get out and hit the slopes, sleds or the ice rink.
Be prepared; accidents will happen
Before letting little ones strap on those skis or skates, it’s important to know that accidents and injuries can happen, according to Dr. Purva Grover, MD, of Cleveland Clinic Children’s.
“Most of the injuries we see with skating are falls and lacerations,” said Grover. “We see a lot of chin lacerations; we see some facial injuries. Every now and then we’ll see some ankle breaks or some long bone fractures.”
Grover said most of the children who participate in organized groups or public sporting arenas don’t see serious injuries, because they are wearing the appropriate gear and are adhering to safety measures.
However, the risk does increase for children who are sledding or snowboarding at home. Inappropriate gear, debris, lack of safety measures and lack of supervision can put them at a higher risk for injury.
Grover said snow tubing is usually safe, but it’s important to use the appropriate size tube to prevent small children from falling out, which can be especially dangerous.
Of all of the winter sports, ski injuries can be the most serious and need attention right away because prolonging the time before treatment can lead to significant deterioration of a child’s condition.
“It’s OK to let kids be kids, but they need to be appropriately supervised,” Grover said. “Even the ‘tweens,’ you know, the ones who are infallible, ‘nothing can happen to them,’ and they’ve never tried out a specific sport before, they just might need watching.”
Put some time into training
Grover advises parents with children to ensure their children have appropriate training before partaking in winter sports. Even if children have the right gear, they can still easily get hurt without proper training.