The National Safe Kids Campaign estimates that more than 16,000 children were treated in emergency rooms for ice-skating injuries in 1999.
Even more were hurt in skiing and snowboarding accidents. But a little foresight can save you and your child a trip to the hospital, reports Dr. Emily Senay, health and medicine consultant for The Early Show.
During the winter months, children are engaging in activities such as sledding and ice-skating. When you put that together with their excitement at seeing snow and ice, you have a recipe for trouble.
What parents need to do is balance the benefits of outdoor activities with the potential for injury. Despite these risks, it is important that children not spend the entire winter inside glued to the TV. They need to stay physically active.
The following are a few of Dr. Senay's safety tips:
- Dress In Layers: Underneath his coat, a child should wear a turtleneck as well as an undershirt. Long johns should be worn under snow pants. Waterproof boots with two pairs of socks are a must, as well as gloves or mittens. And don't forget to put a hat on your child. A hat prevents body heat from escaping.
- Limit Outdoor Time: Many children would spend all day outside playing in the snow if allowed to. But if the weather is below freezing, you should check on them every 15 to 20 minutes.
- Avoid Taking Infants Outdoors: Infants lose their body heat quickly, so if at all possible, avoid taking them outside when the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Look For Signs Of Frostbite: Many children with frostbite will complain of numbness on their extremities and that includes the nose and the cheeks. Look for skin that is blistered, discolored and waxy. If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, call your pediatrician immediately.
How To Prevent Ice Skating Injuries
- Check For Thin Ice: This is very important. Your child should never go skating on a local pond or lake unless the ice has been approved for skating by a qualified adult. When in doubt, check with local officials.
- Skate In Same Direction As Crowd.
- Never Skate Alone.
How To Prevent Sledding Injuries
- Clear Terrain Of Obstacles: This includes rocks, tree limbs, stumps and ice blocks.
- Avoid Sleds With Sharp Edges.
- Buy Sleds With Padded Seats.
How To Avoid Skiing And Snowboarding Accidents
- Take Skiing or Snowboarding Lessons.
- Wear a Helmet And Goggles.
- Never Ski Alone.
How To Prevent Snowmobiling Injuries
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, NO child under 16 should operate a snowmobile. Children should use the same safety equipment they would while skiing and that includes goggles and a helmet. Also, children younger than 5 should never ride on a snowmobile.
To combat the cold, many families use wood stoves or fireplaces. This puts children at a greater risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer because it is odorless and tasteless, so it is very important that your home is well ventilated and equipped with carbon monoxide alarms.
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