With abundant fresh snow on our local mountain tops, many children and families will be hitting the slopes to ski or snowboard this season.
Common injuries for snowboarding and skiing enthusiasts include forearm, wrist, shoulder, knee and ankle injuries, ranging from sprains to fractures. Dr. Francois D. Lalonde, orthopaedic surgeon at CHOC Children’s, recommends the following tips to prevent you and your children from injury while enjoying the winter fun.
- Stretch and warm up: Proper conditioning can minimize the risk of injury and optimize performance. Make sure you and your children are warmed up. This can be as simple as walking, marching in one place, or doing a few jumping jacks.
- Use proper safety gear: The lack of proper gear is a common factor in sports injuries. Make sure your children use a helmet, wrist and elbow guards, knee pads, googles, boots, and the appropriate snowboard or skis.
- Dress appropriately: Make sure your family is wearing the right amount of layers to match the weather and each person’s activity level. Wear a hat or helmet liner and gloves. Also, be sure to wear sun protection, even on cloudy days!
- Get proper instruction: Take a lesson from a qualified instructor before you hit the slopes. Ensure that your children know how to properly use the equipment.
- Follow the rules: Children should be supervised at all times. Make sure your family understands and obeys posted warning signs. Avoid icy slopes. Do not go off-trail.
- Ski or snowboard with a friend: Pre-arrange a meeting place in case you get separated. Use walkie-talkies if possible. Make sure your children have the name and phone number of your hotel.
- Take a break: Like any other sport, lots of energy is being used while gliding through the slopes. Take a moment to rest. While resting, make sure you have something to eat or drink.