Safe Fall and Winter Fun

Have Fun - Stay Safe

Participating year round in sports and recreational activities contributes to good health in children and adolescents. But these activities can sometimes lead to injuries. Below are some practical tips that can reduce the number of head injuries, spinal cord traumas, fractures, sprains, deep cuts and other injuries that may result during popular sports and activities. Remember wearing protective equipment does not make you invincible; use your common sense.

A message for parents:

Helmets and protective equipments can prevent serious injuries

  • Your children should start wearing helmets and other protective equipment at an early age.
  • Wear protective equipment yourself. It sets a good example for your children.


Parents, caregivers, coaches should:

  • Make sure children warm up and stretch before playing
  • Make sure children use recommended protective headgear and other approved equipment that fits properly
  • After a head, neck or spine injury, do not let children continue to play until they have been properly checked by a healthcare professional

Teach children to:

  • Follow and respect game rules
  • Report symptoms accurately and immediately if they get injured during play


Parents or caregivers should:

  • Supervise young children
  • Use sleds and toboggans that can be easily controlled
  • Avoid using inner tubes, crazy carpets, and flying saucers. They cannot be well controlled
  • Look for hills with a gentle slope for younger children
  • Avoid hills that exceed your child's skill level
  • Check the surface of the hill. Icy conditions are dangerous.
  • Check for obstacles such as park benches, trees, bales of hay, or fences that block the path
  • Never put too many children on the sled. Check the manufacturer’s recommendation

Teach children to:

  • Wear protective headgear (ski or hockey type)
  • Always sit down and face forward. Never stand
  • If the toboggan goes out of control, roll off sideways, and do not try to stop it using hands or feet
  • Get out of the way at the bottom of the hill to avoid being hit by others tobogganing
  • Never toboggan into the street
  • Toboggan during daylight. Many injuries occur during the late afternoon or early evening


Parents or caregivers should:

  • Not take children younger than seven years old snowboarding
  • Make sure their children get proper instruction on how to snowboard and use the equipment
  • Avoid hills that exceed the snowboarder's skill level

Teach children to:

  • Wear a ski or snowboarding helmet, protective goggles, and elbow and kneepads
  • Be aware of others skiing on the hill to avoid collisions
  • Snowboarding is considered an extreme sport. Protective equipment doesn't make you invincible. You should use common sense!


Parents or caregivers should:

  • Make sure your child gets proper instruction
  • Not take a child younger than four years old skiing
  • Ski only in an area identified for the activity
  • Check the condition of the hill. Icy surfaces are dangerous
  • Avoid slopes that are beyond the skill level of the child or adolescent
  • Make sure equipment is age-appropriate
  • Check that equipment meets safety standards at the beginning of each season
  • Make sure children and adolescents wear a certified ski helmet


Parents or caregivers should:

  • Ensure your child has the balance and coordination skills to perform the activity
  • Supervise younger children and beginner skaters
  • Make sure that skates are the right size and worn correctly to support the foot and ankle
  • Check blades to make sure they are not dull

Teach children to:

  • Wear approved protective headgear recommended for hockey
  • Consider using knee and elbow pads for beginners
  • Skate only on areas specified for the activity and check the condition of outdoor skating rinks before skating
  • Keep a safe distance from other skaters to avoid collisions
  • Use skate guards when carrying skates

Playing hockey 

Parents, caregivers and coaches should:

  • Make sure the child is in the right age division. Consider the size and skill level of the children playing together in the same league
  • Always wear full equipment including a certified helmet, faceguard and neck guard. Remember these items don't guard against all injuries 
  • Make sure all equipment is a proper fit. Helmets, face guards, neck guards are mandatory but we need to keep in mind that it does not make you invincible. You still have to use common sense!
  • Provide a model attitude and promote the message of team work and good sportsmanship

Teach children to:

  • Know and respect the rules. There should be zero tolerance towards intentional violence and remember it is only a game.

NOTE: Coaches, players and parents should pay attention to early signs of injuries like head injuries and should not encourage children to play through an injury. Seek medical attention and respect activity restrictions. After an injury, players should return to play gradually to ensure that the player is ready and a re-injury does not occur.

Preventing frostbite

Parents and caregivers should:

  • Be aware of the early signs (tingling, change in skin colour, loss of sensation, and irritability)

Ensure that children:

  • Dress warmly when playing outside
  • Dress in layers and protect head, feet, hands, and ears well
  • Change wet socks, gloves, and mittens immediately