Winter Injury Prevention Begins at Home

Tips to make this season injury free

This winter, it is important to keep injury prevention at the forefront. With cold, snowy weather, an influx of toys and countless activities, being proactive can go a long way towards keeping your family safe. 

Parachute, a national injury prevention charity, has just launched Parachute’s Horizon, a hub full of injury prevention solutions. All solutions have been vetted to ensure their accuracy and providing evidence based- knowledge you can trust. Check it out for resources on preventing injury! 

Toy Safety

Unintentional suffocation, which also includes strangulation and choking on food and other objects, is one of the leading causes of injury related death in Canada for children 0-4. 

·      Size, surface and strings: The three Ss should always be considered when buying toys or products for children. Size should be large enough to prevent choking and swallowing; surfaces should be smooth, fire retardant and that stuffing cannot come out; strings should be firmly attached to the product and not be long enough to pose strangulation or choking risk.

·      Check out size: Toys can pose a hazard to children given their size – if it is small enough to fit in a child’s mouth, the child can choke on it. Check and see if toys (and their pieces) fit through a cardboard toilet paper roll- if so, it is small enough to be a choking hazard for young children.

·      Age and stage: Always follow the recommended ages on toy labels, as well as evaluating your child’s developmental stage, to ensure it is appropriate. Buying a gift for someone else’s child? Ask the parent before purchasing.

·      Batteries: If the toy requires batteries, make sure they are locked in the toy in a child proof way. Batteries are a choking hazard, but can also be swallowed as well as cause burns.

·      Magnets: Toys with magnets should be monitored to ensure they are firmly secured, as well as large enough to prevent swallowing – ingestion can cause serious injury.

Road Safety

Winter can be the season where busy social schedules collide with some of the worst winter driving conditions. To ensure that your family is safe on the road, follow some of these tips: 

·      Plan ahead to ensure you have a safe ride home: making sure that you have a plan to travel home safely from holiday parties, ensuring that you are not intoxicated behind the wheel. Check out your area’s local designated driver programs, or taxi services

·      Maintain your ride: Book your vehicle maintenance and ensure that your tires are appropriate for the driving conditions. Make sure to get this done before the snow starts to fly so that you can concentrate on everything else you need to do this holiday season!

·      Know your skill level: Does the thought of driving in the winter cause you to hibernate? Familiarize yourself with the skills and tips to keep you safe on the road 

Sports and Recreation

Winter sports are some of the best parts of being outside when the weather gets colder. A few considerations before you head out will ensure that you get the most out of your time on the hill, on the ice, or in your toboggan! 

·      Know your colours: clear blue ice is the strongest ice, while white opaque may only be half as strong. If you are in doubt, stay off. 

·      Keep an eye on temperatures: children should play indoors if the wind chill temperatures are below 25 C (-13 F). On the other end of the thermometer, make sure you are aware of quick thaws, which can weaken ice surfaces as well as promote flooding.

·      Buckle up to slide down:  helmets can prevent serious head injuries when tobogganing- stick to a ski helmet, which is designed for use in cold weather, as well as for similar falls and speeds. Also, make sure it fits correctly before hitting the hills.

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