When children head outdoors this winter for some seasonal fun, keep a watchful eye to avoid injuries. Here's some practical advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dress children appropriately. As a rule, kids need all parts of their body covered. If a child does complain of numbness or pain or if the skin is blistered, hard to the touch or glossy, follow these precations to prevent frostbite. Take the child indoors and call your doctor. Tell the child to wiggle the affected body part to increase blood supply. Warm the frozen part against the body. Immerse the frozen part in body-temperature water.
When sledding encourage the use of steerable sleds rather that snow disks. Sleds need secure handholds and no sharp edges. Inner tube type sleds are dangerous due to the bouncing that can happen on the way down which can catapult the sledder into the air and to the inability to control their descent. Children should wear bicycle hemets while sledding to prevent serious head and brain injury. Sledders should also make sure that the bottom of the hill is away from motor traffic and that there are no trees or low lying branches in the way.
Downhill skiing and snowboarding are safe when done under control but participants are still at risk for hand and wrist injuries. Many injuries are due to the failure of ski bindings to release. Make sure that your ski bindings are adjusted each year as the weight of the skier changes. Younger children should wear specially designed ski helmets when they ski downhill or snowboard.