Winter Games

Who said you can't have fun in New England during the cold winter? Now that winter is here and Mother Nature has decided to cover the ground in blankets of snow and freeze the ponds and lakes into shiny pieces of glass, it's time to take advantage of this beautiful winter wonderland. There is no need to hibernate over the next several months. Whether you decide to glide across the ice for afternoon ice-skating, or go for a bumpy ride down a hillside on a sled, winter can be a fun time for you and your family, but it can also be dangerous. You need to be aware of some simple safety tips to keep you and your family safe as you enjoy fun and exciting winter sports.

Safe Sledding Tips 
Sliding downhill is an exhilarating winter sport and people of all ages can participate. But sledding injuries are surprisingly common despite snow's cushioning effect. Estimates of the number of injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms every year show about 33,000 sledding injuries and 1,500 from tobogganing. Injuries are often facial lacerations or skull fractures, with the exception of tobogganing injuries that almost always involve the lower half of the body. Children ages 5 to 9 are most susceptible to injury and parents of young children should not allow them to sled alone. Here are a few guidelines to follow for safe and fun sledding and tobogganing:
Keep all equipment in good condition. Broken parts, sharp edges, cracks and split wood invite injuries.
Sled on spacious, gently sloping hills which have a level run-off at the end so that the sled can come to a safe halt.
Avoid steep slopes and slopes located near drop-offs, streets, roadways, and parking lots.
Sled only in designated areas free of fixed objects like trees, rocks, fences, posts, and telephone poles. Check slopes for bare spots, holes and other obstructions which might cause injury. 
Do not sled on or around frozen lakes, streams or ponds because the ice may be unstable.
All participants must sit in a forward-facing position, steering with their feet or a rope tied to the steering handles of the sled. No one should sled head-first down a slope.
Children under 12 years old should wear a helmet while sledding.
Dress warmly and wear thick gloves or mittens and protective boots to protect against frostbite as well as potential injury.

Skating Safely on Ice
Ice-skating is a fun winter activity, and also great exercise, that the whole family can enjoy. These tips will help you and your family enjoy safe skating.
Wear skates that fit comfortably and provide enough ankle support to keep you on your feet.
Have the blades professionally sharpened at the beginning of each season.
Skate only on specially prepared skating areas where you are sure the ice is strong enough to withstand your weight.
Always check for holes, cracks, and other debris.
Before setting out on you skating expedition, learn basic skating skills such as how to stop and fall safely.
Dress appropriately by wearing warm clothing.
Rest when you become tired or cold.

Source: &
Center for Disease Control 
Center for Disease Control