Winter sports, like sledding, skiing and ice skating can be tons of fun, but they can also be extremely dangerous. While a sprained knee or a broken wrist would certainly put a damper on the winter season, a head injury could result in everything from learning and memory problems to coma and death. For that reason, wearing a helmet is encouraged for all of these activities.
The image of kids whizzing downhill on a sled is iconic; even Norman Rockwell used the subject for his paintings. But this historical pastime has gotten more dangerous with the rise of cheap, plastic sleds. While these sleds may go faster, they don't offer the steering or braking control that older wooden ones do. Even worse are objects not meant to be used as sleds, such as plastic bags or cafeteria trays. To ensure safety, use a proper sled in an open area free of trees and moving traffic. Supervise children at all times, and keep an eye on children who may be standing in the pathway of a runaway sled.
Kids who get their kicks on skis need at least one professional lesson before hitting the slopes, and they should never ski alone. Budding figure skaters and hockey stars should wear wrist guards and lace their skates tightly to provide ankle support.
With any of these sports, children should use equipment that's made for their size and skill level. They shouldn't chew gum or eat candy while playing, and no matter what activity your children love, make sure they take regular rest breaks. Injuries are more likely as kids tucker out.