Winter Safety

Temperatures are dipping and snow flurries are flying. Get out and enjoy the snow but remember these safety tips to have fun during the winter months.

Sledding and tubing can be a great way to enjoy winter weather. The joy of speeding down the hill can make it easy to forget that these activities can also lead to injuries. Taking a few safety measures can help keep you and your kids safe on the hills this winter.

Sledding Injury Facts

  • Injuries often occur when the sled hits a stationary object or when the child falls off the sled.
  • Bruises, cuts and broken bones are the most common injuries.
  • Head and neck injuries are common among children 6 years old and younger.

Sledding Tips

  • ALWAYS wear a helmet to prevent head injuries. Properly fitted snow sport helmets, multi-sport, and bicycle helmets are good options. Esnure they have ASTM certification on the equipment.
  • Teach children to have an adult with them when they go sledding.
  • Avoid sledding in areas with trees, fences and light poles or on rocky hills.
  • Always go down the hill feet first.
  • Have only the recommended number of passengers on a sled at one time.
  • Do not sled in the street or on a highway.
  • Never ride a sled being pulled by a car, ATV, snowmobile or other motorized vehicle.
  • Avoid sledding on driveways, hills, or slopes that end in a street, drop off, parking lot, river or pond.
  • Because they are hard to steer, the best place to use a tube is in a tubing park – often found at ski resorts.

It’s important to remember, no helmet can protect against all types of impacts and injuries. Wearing a helmet is not a license for your child to ski faster. Talk about safety rules for the slopes with your child.

To learn more:

Credit: Nationwide Children’s//Seattle Children’s

Carbon monoxide poisoning is an illness that occurs from breathing in carbon monoxide (CO) gas.  It’s a medical emergency and needs treatment right away. CO is a colorless, odorless gas made when fuel burns. Fuels include wood, gasoline, coal, natural gas, and kerosene. Breathing in carbon monoxide fumes prevents the body from using oxygen normally. This can harm the brain, heart, and other organs. Symptoms of CO poisoning include persistent, severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.

Most carbon monoxide exposure happens in the winter. This is because the most common source of CO poisoning is an unvented, kerosene or gas fueled space heater in the home. It vents the gases into the room, instead of outdoors. A space heater that is not installed right or not working correctly can release carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes into the room. It can use up much of the oxygen in the room.

Carbon monoxide can also leak from home or camping appliances that use oil, wood, gas, or coal and are not working properly, such as:

  • Stove and oven
  • Gas log burner
  • Ceiling-mounted heating unit
  • Heating furnace
  • Barbecue grill
  • Gas fueled generators
  • Wood burning fireplace
  • Clogged chimney
  • Vehicle with engine running
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Fire

To prevent CO poisoning:

  • Never use a gas oven or portable flameless chemical heaters indoors
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage or less than 20 feet from windows, doors or vents
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors near each separate sleeping area
  • Get the chimney, furnace and other appliances serviced regularly

Here’s a list of resources to prepare for the weather:

  • If you or a family you know is struggling in Washington state, call 211 to get help.
  • What to do when your home power goes out
  • What to pack in your car and your home in case of emergency

Credit: Nationwide Children’s // University of Washington, School of Medicine

female in snow with snowboard

Skiing and snowboarding are great ways to spend time outdoors during the winter months. As with all sports, injuries are a risk when you ski or snowboard. Taking a few safety measures can help you have fun and be safe.

Skiing & Snowboarding Injury Facts

  • Bruises and broken bones are the most common types of skiing- and snowboarding injuries
  • Snowboarders most commonly injure their wrist and arm. Skiers most commonly injure their knee, head or face.
  • Most ski and snowboarding injuries occur during a fall or a crash (usually into a tree).
  • Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of serious injuries among skiers and snowboarders and is also the most common cause of death.

Skiing & Snowboarding Safety Tips

  • ALWAYS wear a helmet designed for skiing or snowboarding.
  • Protect your skin and eyes from the sun and wind. Apply sunscreen and wear ski goggles that fit properly with a helmet.
  • Do not ski or snowboard alone.
  • Follow all trail rules.
  • Stay on the designated trails.
  • Only go on trails that match your skill level.
  • Before using a ski lift, tow rope or carpet, make sure you know how to get on, ride and get off safely.  Ask an attendant if you need help.

To learn more:

Credit: Nationwide Children’s