Skiing and snowboarding: Safety tips for families
Skiing and snowboarding are popular winter activities. But each year, children and adults are injured while involved in these sports, and sometimes the injuries are very serious.
Did you know
- Snowboarding and downhill skiing are among the top three causes of injury related to recreational winter activities.
- Among young skiers, injuries happen most often to beginners, often on their first day on the slopes.
- The number of brain and spinal cord injuries resulting from skiing and snowboarding is a worldwide problem as the sports become more popular.
Safety starts with the right equipment
- Wear the proper equipment including a helmet and goggles, and wrist guards for snowboarding. Helmets can reduce the risk of a head injury. Children, teens and adults should always wear a helmet that is specifically designed for skiing and snowboarding. Serious head injuries can be prevented with correct helmet use. As an adult, set a good example by wearing a helmet too. It will let your children know that safety is important.
- Helmets for sale in Canada should have certification from CE, Snell or ASTM. These are designed as single-impact helmets and need to be replaced even if there is no visible damage after a collision or bang to the head.
- Make sure you and your child’s helmet fits properly. Most helmets come with fitting instructions.
- Check your child’s equipment at the start of each ski day. You should also teach your child how to check their own equipment. Many injuries happen because of poorly adjusted bindings. Release bindings on skis and snowboards should be adjusted so that they are right for your child or teen’s weight and skiing ability.
- Don’t count on borrow equipment. If you don’t have equipment of your own, rent it from a reputable ski shop or resort. Make sure that the boots fit and that the bindings are adjusted correctly.
Prepare before going out
- Check the weather forecast. Dress for the weather. Wear layers of clothes and pack extra hats and mitts.
- Take lessons. If your child or teen is new to skiing, sign them up for lessons with a certified instructor.
- Know the condition of the trails. Don’t ski or snowboard on trails that are closed or out of bounds, or if you don’t know the conditions.
- Exercise and stretch to warm up muscles before hitting the slopes.
Take care while on the slopes
- Never ski or snowboard alone. Ask older children to check in regularly with an adult.
- Be aware of physical and environmental hazards like trees or icy patches on the trail.
- Respect limits. Don’t ski or snowboard on hills that are above your skill level. Teach your child or teen that it’s important that he try more difficult slopes gradually and only as his skills get better.
- Check regularly for frostbite.
- Don’t ski distracted. Leave the earphones back at the chalet and reduce the likelihood of injury.
- Rest when you’re tired.
More information from the CPS
Reviewed by the following CPS committees
- Injury Prevention Committee
Last updated: October 2017