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Safe Fun in the Snow

Published on Mar. 01, 2024

One of the beautiful things about living in the Central Valley is the proximity to the mountains and the snow. Spending time in the snow, whether you are making snow people, skiing, snowboarding or sledding is a great way to get outside and be active. While the snow is fun, it can also be dangerous if the right precautions aren’t taken. Use the tips below to ensure your children are safe when playing in the snow! 

Snow Play Tips 

  • It is very important to protect your child’s head by wearing a helmet when skiing, snowboarding, or sledding. Wear a helmet that is specifically made for the activity. While there aren’t specific sledding helmets, another snow helmet will work or even a bike helmet is better than no helmet. Make it fun and add stickers to helmets or get a fun cover with animal ears.
  • Ensure all equipment fits appropriately. For example, helmets should fit snug and don’t wiggle with movement, and skis/snowboards should be properly adjusted by a professional once a year at minimum, including the bindings.
  • Part of having the right equipment is having the appropriate clothing, including water-resistant pants, jackets and gloves when in the snow. Dressing in layers is recommended as temperatures can change dramatically throughout the day. Children typically need to wear one more layer than adults since they are smaller and don’t hold warmth as well. Be sure to remove any clothing that gets wet to avoid getting too cold.
  • Protect your kids’ eyes with sunglasses or goggles even if it is cloudy out, since the sun reflecting off snow or ice is stronger and can make it hard to see. It is also important to wear sunscreen on your face or other exposed areas as sunburns happen quicker in the snow.
  • Avoid sledding near roads, lakes, crowded areas or in areas with a lot of obstacles. Sleds are very difficult to control and can build speed quickly. This is especially true with discs or inner tubes, which is why they are not recommended. Instead, choose a sled that has a steering device. Be cautious in areas with surrounding trees and always sled feet first to prevent head injuries.
  • Kids should always be supervised at all times when skiing, snowboarding, or sledding.

As with all safety tips, the best way to ensure your kids stay safe is to model the tips yourself! As your child’s first and best teacher, you can set an example of how to play safely in the snow – and in other weather!


About the Authors

Hailey Nelson, MD, FAAP, IBCLC is a complex care pediatrician at Valley Children’s Charlie Mitchell Children’s Center. Dr. Nelson enjoys working with children of all ages and abilities and is especially passionate about providing the best possible care to medically fragile children and their families. As the ambassador for Safe Kids Central California, she is a vocal advocate for children’s wellness and regularly appears in news media discussing pediatric healthcare. She is also a licensed breastfeeding consultant, certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultants to support nursing mothers and their babies. Learn more about Dr. Nelson here. 

Dr. Jessi Harrison, DO is a California native who comes to Valley Children's from Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University and is in her third year of Postgraduate Residency. Dr. Harrison is an advocate for strong pediatric care, starting with your primary care pediatrician, and believes it will provide equitable care for children. Learn more about Dr. Harrison here.