AHS Weekly Wellness News: Sledding and Snow Safety

Getting outside in the winter is a great way for families to be active. But remember to keep your child safe while doing winter activities like sledding and playing in the snow.

To help lower the risk of your child getting hurt, make sure:

  • you supervise your child closely

  • your child is always in a safe place

  • you and your child know about any dangers

  • your child does age-appropriate activities

Winter safety tips

  • Check the weather forecast so you know how to dress for the day.
  • Choose play areas with warm shelters nearby.
  • Dress in layers. Have a windproof, waterproof outer layer. Wear:
    • a hat to keep the ears covered. If under 3, your child’s head is larger than the rest of the body and heat is lost quickly from the head.
    • mittens instead of gloves
    • warm, dry, waterproof boots that aren’t too tight
    • a neck warmer instead of scarf
    • clothes without drawstrings
  • Snow forts can be fun, but building tunnels can be dangerous. Tunnels can collapse and suffocate a child.
  • Watch your child for wet clothes, feeling chilled, frostbite, and being tired.
  • Teach your child about frostbite and hypothermia and how important it is to dress warmly.

Sledding safety tips

  • Only sled when the temperature is above -19 ˚C. Think about the windchill factor.
  • Choose hills with a gentle slope and a long, clear run-off area.
  • Sled on snowy hills and stay away from icy surfaces. Make sure the hill has no jumps, bumps, holes, bare spots, and obstacles.
  • Stay away from roads, rivers, railway tracks, and parking lots. 
  • Don’t sled over ice-covered rivers, streams, or ponds.
  • Only go sledding in the daylight on hills that are well-lit.
  • Your child must be supervised by a responsible adult. If your child is under 5, have a responsible adult on the sled with him or her.
  • Go down the hill sitting up or kneeling on the sled. Don’t go head first.
  • Wear a hockey or ski/snowboard helmet.
  • Check the sled to make sure it is in good shape. Use a sled with good brakes and steering. Plastic discs and inner tubes are not safe because they are hard to control.

Alberta Health Services