Crisp winter air, brisk exercise and rosy cheeks; cold-weather activities like skiing, sledding, snowboarding and ice hockey seem to epitomize wholesome winter fun. It’s true; these activities promote fitness and allow kids to burn off pent-up winter energy. But according to Kevin D. Walter, M.D., a sports medicine program director at a children’s hospital, parents are often shocked to learn about the dangers involved. With rates for winter sports injuries climbing, Walter and other health experts are now warning parents to take precautions to keep their children safe when they participate in time-honored winter pastimes like skiing and sledding.
When it comes to home disasters, children are most likely to experience a fire. Preparedness and planning saves lives, but many families have never developed or practiced a home fire escape plan. I know what you are thinking: ‘The chances of my house catching on fire are remote. House fires only happen on the news. To other people.’ That’s what I thought, too, until my husband and I stood shivering in the snow while firefighters crashed through our burning home and reporters buzzed around. A brand new lamp shorted out while we were at work, turning our bedroom into an inferno that blasted out our windows. Energized by gulps of air, it proceeded to lick its way toward the roof.
The Brain Injury Association of Canada states that roughly 2,000 kids are injured each year while sledding. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, children younger than 10 were hospitalized most often for injuries as a result of skiing, snowboarding and sledding in 2010 to 2011. These are major injuries to our children’s essential nervous system. However, let’s think for a moment about the ‘minor bumps and tumbles’ they take while playing in our winter wonderland.
Spending more time indoors means kids, and adults, are exposed to more pesky germs, viruses and bacteria. Getting sufficient sleep, staying hydrated and active are important to maintaining good health over the winter months, but making small dietary changes can help prevent winter colds and keep your family healthy all year long.
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