Follow these winter safety tips.

While snow covered grounds appear fluffy and powdery, don’t let its soft look fool you.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 160,000 sledding and tubing related injuries occur annually and the most common injury seen is head injuries (43%). Other findings included:

• The cost of these injuries totaled more than $4 billion dollars in medical, legal and liability, pain and suffering, and work-loss related costs
• Most of these injuries were experienced by kids 14 and under
• 15,000 of these injuries required emergency room visits.
• Sleds can reach speeds of 25 mph

So, before your kids hit the slopes or the local park, be sure to review the following tips:

Ice Skating
Advise your child to:

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• Skate in the same direction as the crowd
• Avoid darting across the ice
• Never skate alone
• Not chew gum or eat candy while skating.
• Consider having your child wear a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads, especially while learning to skate.


• Children less than 5 years of age should not sled alone.
• Keep young children separated from older children.
• Sledding feet first or sitting up, instead of lying down head-first may prevent head injuries.
• Consider having your child wear a (hockey not bicycle) helmet while sledding.
• Sleds should be structurally sound and free of sharp edges and splinters, and the steering mechanism should be well lubricated.
• Sled slopes should be free of obstructions like trees or fences, covered in snow not ice, not be too steep (slope of less than 30º), and end with a flat runoff.
• Avoid sledding in crowded areas.

Snow Skiing and Snowboarding

• Children should be taught to ski or snowboard by a qualified instructor in a program designed for children.
• Young children should always be supervised by an adult. Older children’s need for adult supervision depends on their maturity and skill. If older children are not with an adult, they should always at least be accompanied by a friend.
• All skiers and snowboarders should wear a properly fitted helmet. Ski facilities should require helmet use, but if they do not, parents should enforce the requirement for their children.
• Equipment should fit the child. Skiers should wear safety bindings that are adjusted at least every year. Snowboarders should wear gloves with built-in wrist guards. Hip pads have been shown to be effective in preventing fractures, as well. Eye protection or goggles should also be used.
• Slopes should fit the ability and experience of the skier or snowboarder. Avoid crowded slopes.

For more tips on how to help kids safe, visit

About UPMC

A $21 billion health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates more than 90,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 3.8 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. In the most recent fiscal year, UPMC contributed $1.4 billion in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution, and paid more than $500 million in federal, state, and local taxes. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial, and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside on its annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For more information, go to