Tips for a safe Spring Break

This winter only, 181 tobogganing injuries have been reported at the Montreal Children's Hospital. Outdoor play continues to be a safe and fun way to stay active during the pandemic. Being COVID safe is important, but of equal importance is remembering the fundamentals of preventing a trauma. As spring break approaches, please keep in mind these safety tips from the Montreal Children’s Hospital Trauma Centre’s Injury Prevention Program:

Outdoor winter play

  • Dress warm and in layers and change wet clothing quickly to avoid frostbite
  • Remove any and all drawstrings and use a neck warmer instead of a scarf to avoid risk of strangulation.
  • Avoid playing near roads or when the snowplows are out
  • Be extra-cautious when crossing the road – cars may have difficulty stopping on slippery roads and visibility is often diminished
  • Avoid aiming snowballs at people or cars, especially when the snow is hard packed or icy
  • Forts and tunnels should be built with adult supervision – they can collapse and suffocate a child who is caught inside


Outdoor skating

  • Wear a CSA approved helmet
  • Ice should be at least 20 cm thick for safe outdoor skating



  • Always wear a properly fitted helmet
  • Ski or snowboard on slopes appropriate for your skill level
  • Enroll your children in lessons if possible


Tobogganing safety tips

  • Wear a helmet (winter sport helmets are preferred)
  • Choose designated hills with a gentle slope
  • Make sure that there are no obstacles along the path like benches, trees, frozen bails of hay or metal fences
  • The bottom of the run should have a large open flat space for the toboggan to come to a stop on its own
  • Clear away from the path as soon as your run is over
  • Never toboggan towards the street


Preventing CO poisoning

  • Always clear the exhaust pipe of a car before starting the car
  • Do not allow anyone to sit in an idling car while shoveling it out of the snow


A beautiful family outdoor day should never end in the emergency room of a Trauma Centre.