Children’s safety during winter activities

Children’s safety during winter activities in Ontario
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There are many popular outdoor winter activities for people of all ages. Be safe! Wearing a helmet will ensure that these outdoor activities remain enjoyable and fun.

  • Keep children warm. Dress your children in layers. Make sure their heads, necks and hands are covered. Watch for frostbite.
  • Children can strangle on drawstrings or on scarves. Use a neck warmer instead of a scarf and remove any drawstrings on their clothes.
  • On sunny days, put sunscreen on their skin.
  • Check your children’s equipment to make sure that it fits and is in good condition.
  • Be careful when playing near or skating on frozen water bodies, such as lakes, ponds and rivers, as the ice may not be strong enough to support a child or an adult. Ice should be smooth and at least 10 cm or 4 inches thick.
  • Always have an adult supervise children playing near or skating on frozen water.
  • Never skate or play near open water — this means the ice is thin or you are near a cracked surface.

When tobogganing or sledding:

  • Children should wear a helmet that fits and is secured properly.
  • Choose a hill that is away from roads, parking lots or water. There should be no rocks, trees, fences or other dangers in the path.
  • Teach children to slide down the middle of the hill, climb up the side and watch up the hill to watch for any oncoming danger, such as other sliders.
  • Teach them to move out of the way quickly when they get to the bottom.

When skating:

  • Children should wear a helmet that fits and is secured properly.
  • Children should skate in the same direction and at the same speed as the crowd.
  • Skaters who cannot keep up with the crowd should move to the side.
  • When children play hockey, they should only wear a CSA-certified helmet. Replace hockey helmets at least every five years or after a major impact.

When skiing or snowboarding:

  • Make sure children wear the appropriate safety gear and equipment that is the appropriate size for them.
  • Children should always wear a helmet that fits and is secured properly.
  • Children should be supervised at all times when skiing and snowboarding.
  • Advise children of ski area boundaries and ensure that they stay away from closed areas.

Inline Skating, Skateboarding and Biking

In-line skating, skateboarding and biking are popular activities. Be careful! These activities can lead to serious injuries to the head, arms and legs. Be smart, wear protective gear.

  • Always supervise young children.
  • Ensure all equipment is in good condition and fits properly.
  • Children should always wear a helmet. Helmets should be replaced every two or three years, or after a major impact.
  • Wrist guards will help to prevent injuries in the event of falls.
  • Cuts, scrapes and bruises can be reduced by wearing elbow and knee pads.
  • Teach children to choose a safe location, away from traffic, that has a smooth surface.
  • Teach children how to stop and control speed. You can also check for training programs offered in your area.
  • Teach children not to wear headphones when skating, skateboarding or biking to be able to hear the sounds around them safely.
  • Do not let children skate, skateboard or bike at night or in wet conditions.
  • Teach children to stay alert, to keep their eyes on the surface ahead, and to watch for other people, cars and hazards such as cracks and rocks.
  • Teach children to respect others on the path.


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