Safety not just for the summer

  • Published
  • By James Christian
  • 95th Air Base Wing Ground Safety
Winter isn't a time to just stay indoors and wait for spring. There's a whole wonderland of sports out there for the entire family -- skiing, sledding and snowboarding, to mention a few. 

When out in the snow you may need to take extra steps to keep your family safe. On ice and snow, accidents can occur easily, and before you know it, you may be on your way to the emergency room. There are ways to keep safe and stay fit during the snow activities. 

Why is it important to be safe in the cold? 

Even though we live in the desert, a lot of us venture to the mountains for the snow in the wintertime. Certain injuries are more common in the winter because of snow activities. Activities like ice-skating, sledding, snowboarding and skiing can result in accidents and injuries. 

Now that snowboarding is drawing more kids out in the snow, emergency rooms are seeing more abdominal, head and neck injuries in those who run into trees or large rocks or just simply fall from their snowboard. 

Injuries while sledding can be very serious, resulting in head trauma, neck trauma and broken bones. In serious injuries, there often is internal bleeding and abdominal trauma, which is why it's a good idea to supervise when your kids are sledding. 

Ice skating and ice hockey are great cold-weather activities, but they require safety smarts. Make sure your children avoid sports injuries by wearing supportive and properly fitted skates. In addition, rinks are always safer than ponds for skating. If you only have access to a pond, check the thickness of the ice yourself to prevent falls through the ice, and supervise your children while they skate. 

There's no set amount of time children should be allowed to stay out in the cold. However, when being cold becomes unpleasant, it's time to go inside. Sometimes kids may just need some dry gloves. It helps to have an extra pair of gloves or mittens tucked into their pockets if they plan to be outdoors for a long period of time. 

Braving the cold 

You should dress warmly wearing layers of clothes. If the top layer gets wet from snow, you can peel off some clothes down to a dry layer. 

Avoid cotton clothing because it won't keep the kids very warm. Stick with wool or other fabrics. Dress in long underwear, turtleneck, sweater and coat. Waterproof pants and jackets are great top layers because they don't let the wetness seep into the other clothing. The cold-weather ensemble wouldn't be complete without warm socks and boots to keep feet dry and a hat to top it off. 

Your body burns more calories in cold weather. So, make sure everyone has a snack before going out. 

Protect your face with sunscreen. Even though the idea of a sunburn in January can seem odd, snow can reflect up to 85 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays.