CALGARY – With temperatures dropping and the winter season upon us, Alberta Health Services (AHS) would like to remind Calgarians of the potential hazards winter sports and other outdoor activities can pose to children and teens.
Every year during the winter months, multiple children are brought to the Alberta Children’s Hospital emergency department with injuries related to outdoor activities. Last year, 1,297 children were seen at Alberta Children’s Hospital with winter activity- and cold-related injuries.
It is important for children to stay active during the winter. Parents can help keep their children safe with a few tips:
- Children should be dressed warmly. Wearing mittens, a hat and multiple thin layers will help keep them dry and warm.
- You can still get sunburned in the winter as sun reflects off the snow. Sunscreen should be applied liberally to sun-exposed skin to help prevent sunburn all year-round.
- Set appropriate time limits. Depending on the temperature, parents should allow their child to play outside for 30 to 60 minutes, and then come back in to warm up.
- Ensure your child’s clothes are not wet. Children get much colder when wet.
- Pay attention to the signs of hypothermia, including grey or blue facial skin; cold, hard or white skin; numb patches on the skin; uncontrollable shivering; or loss of control over small muscles, such as those in the fingertips.
Sledding and skiing
- Always wear a helmet while sledding or skiing to prevent head injuries.
- A child should sit or lie down on a sled feet first to help reduce the likelihood of head injury.
- When sledding, younger children should be kept in a separate area from older children.
- Avoid sledding or skiing on hills with trees or other obstructions.
- Sled or ski only on hills covered in snow, not ice.
- Young children should always be supervised by an adult. Older children’s need for adult supervision should depend on their maturity and skill but they should always be accompanied by a friend.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.