During the winter season, winter sport activities are in high demand. From skiing down the mountain, snowboarding, scoring the winning hockey goal or sledding with friends, winter activities can be exhilarating.

Boys Town Orthopaedics stresses the importance of safety first before venturing on any winter sporting adventures. Wearing the correct protective helmet can help reduce 85 percent of head-related injuries. Other common winter injuries include sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures.

Ice skating and hockey:

The ice should always be checked before children skate on lakes, ponds or rivers. Ice that forms on moving waters is never safe for skating or play. Children should never skate alone or near open waters and should skate in the same direction as the crowd.

Protective equipment can include:

• A helmet that fits correctly on the head

• Proper fitting skates

• Shin, shoulder and elbow pads

• Gloves that fit and provide mobility

• A hockey stick that reaches your child’s chin when standing on skates

• Facemask and mouthpiece

• Males should also wear a supporter and cup


With snow comes sledding – an annual tradition for many! Before experiencing the downhill fun, remember to be aware of the following precautions to keep your child safe during downhill adventures.

Make sure to:

• Always having an adult supervise sledding activities

• Keep sledding activities away from motor vehicles and crowded areas

• Sled in areas free of obstructions, such as trees or snowbanks, and sled on hills not too steep with a flat run-off section at the end

• Check to make sure sleds are structurally fit with no sharp edges and broken parts

• Sled feet first or sitting up

• Consider having your child wear a helmet while sledding. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports the need for helmet use and other safety precautions to prevent traumatic sledding injuries.

Skiing and snowboarding:

Never ski or snowboard alone and always supervise children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children 7 and younger should not snowboard. Avoid crowded slopes and make sure the slope fits the ability and experience of the individual. The higher the jumps, the higher the individual flies and falls.

Make sure all equipment fits. Protective equipment can include:

• A helmet that fits correctly on the head

• Skiers should wear safety bindings that are adjusted at least every year

• Snowboarders should wear gloves with built-in wrist guards, and use knee and hip pads

• Use a safety leash and secured sunglasses or goggles

Keep your body in shape and always stretch before any activities. Many injuries occur when the individual overexerts the body. If you are experiencing an injury or have any questions, consult an Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine specialist.


Dr. Thomas J. Connolly of Boys Town Pediatrics wrote this guest blog for To learn more about Dr. Connolly, click here.

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