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Safety on the Slopes

February 13th, 2014 | by admin admin | in Safety Advice |    3   comments

kids_skiers.jpgRain next week means local mountains are expecting fresh powder—finally. Before you head for the slopes, here are some facts to consider

  • Skiing and snowboarding have the highest hospitalization rates of all winter sports injuries.
  • Traumatic brain injury accounts for 50 to 88 per cent of all fatalities at ski resorts and 67 per cent of all skier deaths among children.
  • Helmets reduce the risk of head injury while skiing or snowboarding by 35 per cent.
  • Helmets reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury by 60 per cent.
  • Even at speeds as low as 19 km/h, helmets can minimize brain damage.
  • Ski and snowboard helmets do not increase the risk of neck and spinal injuries.
  • Using a helmet does not increase risk-taking behaviour.
  • B.C. has the lowest rate of helmet usage in Canada (66 per cent).
  • Wrist guards significantly reduce the risk of wrist injury for snowboarders.
  • After hockey, skiing, snowboarding and skating were the leading causes of winter sports injuries seen by the B.C. Children's Hospital from 2001 – 2009.

The message? Wear a helmet. However, not any helmet will do. It must be properly fitted and secured. It should rest two fingers width above the eyebrow and be snug and comfortable, with only one finger width under the chinstrap. The helmet pads should touch your cheeks and forehead, and the helmet back should not touch the nape of your neck.

If you wear goggles, there should be little or no gap between the top of your goggles and the helmet. Most helmets come with fitting instructions. See this video on fitting helmets.

If you ever drop your helmet, or wore it during a collision, you should replace it. That’s why using a second-hand helmet is not a good idea: you don’t know its history. Helmet plastics also lose their integrity over time and don’t protect you as designed. That’s why any helmet more than five years old should also be replaced.

Beyond a helmet, remember to dress against frostbite and wear goggles with UV protection. Young children can be difficult to spot, so putting on a bright-coloured bib can prevent collisions. Stay within designated areas and don’t hit the slopes alone. Be extra careful toward the end of the day as you become tired and visibility goes down.

More winter sports safety tips for parents


"Winter Sports Injuries". Injury Insight (December 2011, vol. 4). B.C. Injury and Prevention Unit.

Winter Helmet Safety. Parachute

Ski and Snowboard Helmets. Parachute


Note: This blog discusses general safety and security topics. It is not intended to provide comprehensive advice or guidance. In all matters of personal safety and security, we encourage readers to research topics in depth and consult a security professional about specific concerns.

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