It's Snow Laughing Matter

It's Snow Laughing Matter

Winter’s here and just a little more than a week away will be winter break for most of our kids. If we’re lucky enough we’ll get a chance to get out and play in the snow.

Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or a good old-fashioned snowball fight sound like a family memory waiting to happen. Let’s make sure it’s happy memories we’re creating not a regretful ones.

Most parents these days grew up in the time where we didn’t wear helmets when riding bikes much less on the slopes, but what we know now about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) will make you think twice about sliding off the ski lift without one on.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Committee in 2009, Winter Sports (Skiing, sledding, snowboarding and snowmobiling) accounted for nearly 17,000 head injuries that were treated in hospital emergency rooms. 6,750 of which were for children ages 14 and younger. While severe head trauma accounts for about 15 percent of all skiing and snowboarding related injuries, it is the most frequent cause of death and severe disability.

There are no state laws mandating helmets for skiing or any winter sports. Some ski resorts mandate usage for kids under 12.

What can you do to keep your kid’s noggin safe on the slopes? Here are some tips to help:

  • Always have them wear an appropriate helmet. There is a difference between their bicycle helmet and one designed for winter sports.

  • Teach your child how to maintain control when going downhill.

  • Teach your child to stay on the ski run and not head off into the woods.

  • Teach them to sit down or roll off a sled if they feel out of control.

  • If they need to stop or if they fall, move to the side to get out of the way.

  • Supervise young children and any kids to make sure they’re playing safely.

  • Learn what to do if someone does hit their head.

Winter can be a fantastic adventure. Dress appropriately, use the buddy system, drink lots of hot chocolate, and wear a helmet.  It’s all fun and games until someone gets a head injury.

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