Make sure your kids play safely in the snow

Ron Craig

Snow day! Is there anything better for children?
Few things give kids more pleasure this time of year besides playing in the snow. So far this year, or at least until the middle of this week, they haven’t had much of a chance to experience that fun.
As parents and grandparents, it’s important to give guidance to youngsters about some basic snow safety rules. Not following these rules can turn a fun time into tragedy in a few short seconds.
Regardless of the winter activity, adult supervision is important, especially with younger children. As a kid, I loved to go sledding. As much fun as sledding is, it is not without its dangers.
Carefully select where your kids can go sledding. Make sure the areas you select are free from trees and other obstacles that kids may strike as they go down a hill or embankment. Thousands of kids are injured every year when they strike trees and other things, the most serious of which can result in head injuries.
Teach your kids how to safely roll off their sleds, toboggans and other sledding devices if they think they may strike solid objects or even other sledders. Teach them it is better to have a damaged sled than to suffer an injury.
When sledding, stay away from water. This includes ponds, streams and creeks. It doesn’t take deep water to drown. Discourage your youngsters from building an igloo or a fort in the snow. This is how my older brother died on Jan. 25, 1963, when he tried to build a fort in the snow and it collapsed, suffocating him. He was only 8 years old at the time.
Kids don’t pay attention to temperatures when they are having fun. As a parent, it’s good to set time limits on playtime when it’s cold outside. Make sure they come inside for a break and to warm up before letting them go outside again.
Make sure kids are dressed appropriately for the temperatures outside. Make sure they have hats and gloves, and that they wear them at all times. It’s not worth a little time of fun if they are going to be sick for a few days or even longer.
Once you have set the limits and guidelines for winter fun time, make sure you and your kids stick to them. There is a difference between being a “helicopter parent” where you constantly hover over your kids and where you give them just the right guidance. Do your best to find that sweet spot.
This article is a public service from the Community Policing/Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.


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