Winter brings kids a whole new world to explore. All that fluffy, white powder can have them longing to get outside and build snowmen, go sledding, have a snowball fight or two and build igloos, but it also brings its own unique sets of hazards. We want everyone to enjoy the season, and avoiding falls and other injuries that can result from ice and cold weather is key.
Here are six safety tips that can help your kids make the most of the beautiful winter wonderland.
Wear proper footwear: Along with dressing in warm layers, good footwear is essential. Your child may want to wear flip flops, but we know that’s a no-no in the winter. Footwear should be sturdy and designed with visible treads. The sole should be flat so you can place your entire foot on the surface of the ground. This is not the time to have kids practicing walking in heels. Snow boots are the best footwear for winter. Remember to remove your boots or shoes when you go inside. Snow and ice can remain on the soles of your footwear making them slippery indoors.
Look up, down and all around: Teach your kids to look ahead to see where they’re going and then to look down to make sure they avoid placing their feet on ice or uneven surfaces. They should also look from side to side to ensure they’re not in the way of traffic, snow blowers or shovels of snow. And, they need to look up to see what is overhead. Injuries can happen from falling snow and ice as it breaks away from buildings and trees as well as being underfoot.
Watch that step: Hold on to handrails and plant your foot securely on each step. The railing may be cold, but that’s why you should be wearing gloves. Just don’t grab a cold handrail with wet hands.
Anticipate ice: Winter has a habit of freezing, thawing, then freezing again. Add a light dusting of new snow to that ice and you have a fall waiting to happen. Surfaces may appear to just be wet, but are really black ice. Just like a car can swerve out of control on black ice, your feet can slip out from under you and cause some pretty bad bumps and bruises if not a more serious injury.
Be careful when you shift your weight: Turning, pulling trash cans, shoveling, stepping off of a curb, lifting Olaf’s head, or getting into a car can all cause an imbalance of body weight. Balance your weight to avoid a nasty fall.
Avoid Taking Shortcuts: Shortcuts in good weather may help if you are in a hurry — but in the winter when there is snow and ice every and paths are covered — they can be a bad idea. Have you ever stepped into a deep puddle of freezing ice water when you thought you were stepping on to a solid surface? A shortcut path could be hazardous because they are often located where snow and ice removal isn’t happening.
There are many fun experiences waiting for your kids this winter. Dress appropriately, stay warm and be careful in the snow and ice and this may be your best and safest winter ever.
Primary Children’s Hospital ranks among the best children's hospitals. Located in scenic Utah, everything in our hospital is focused on providing the best care for children. For more than 90 years, we have been committed to helping children, families, and communities across the western United States.