Winter Activities Pose Risks for Children: Orthopaedic Institute for Children Offers Advice to Avoid Common Injuries

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–For many children winter is a time of celebration and fun activities
like skiing, snowboarding, sledding and ice skating. But with that fun
comes the chance of serious injuries unless parents and their children
take some basic precautions to minimize the danger.

“Part of the joy of being a child is to get out there and experience all
that every season has to offer,” says Dr. Jennifer Beck, associate
director of the Orthopaedic Institute for Children’s Center of Sports
Medicine in Los Angeles, “but safety should always come first, which is
why it is important that children follow some simple safeguards during
these common recreational winter activities:

  • Downhill skiing – One of winter’s most popular sports also carries a
    high risk of injury. Children are especially susceptible to
    ski-related injuries such as fractures in the lower extremities. A
    qualified ski instructor can teach young skiers the fundamentals of
    navigating the slopes, controlling their speed, and avoiding
    collisions with stationary objects or other skiers. And, of course,
    skiers should wear a helmet at all times.
  • Snowboarding – Since snowboarders don’t use poles, they rely on their
    hands and arms for balance making injuries to the upper extremities
    and ankles more common. Like skiing, wearing a helmet and receiving
    instruction from a qualified instructor are essential.
  • Sledding – While sledding might seem benign, sledding leads to a
    significant number of injuries each year. According to the American
    Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 33 percent of sledding injuries are
    fractures and another 6 percent are vertebral fractures. Children
    should wear a helmet when sledding, always face forward and sit up on
    the sled, and stick to hills that are free of obstacles, like trees.
  • Ice skating – One of the biggest risks to ice skating is falling on
    the ice, which can be hard enough to break a bone. Novice skaters may
    want to wear wrist guards and avoid going too fast. Teach children to
    go in the same direction as other skaters and avoid darting across the

While these activities are traditionally associated with the winter
months, Southern California’s mild weather allows residents to enjoy
activities like biking and skateboarding year round. Skateboarding alone
accounts for nearly 80,000 emergency room visits among adolescents; and
the most common injuries involve fractures of the wrist, ankle or face.
Wearing wrist guards and helmets can reduce the severity of these

If a basic injury should occur, Dr. Beck suggests that parents seek the
advice of a doctor if the child is experiencing symptoms that don’t go
away after rest and home treatment or when pain prevents the child from
performing daily tasks. And most important, parents should contact their
doctor immediately if there has been an injury to the head.

“A delay in diagnosis and treatment can lead to a more serious or
disabling injury,” says Dr. Beck. “One of the key factors to ensuring
the best care for children is to make sure they are treated by a
physician that specializes in children’s injuries and who knows what
signs to look for in these cases.”

About Orthopaedic Institute for Children

Orthopaedic Institute for Children (OIC) was founded in 1911 as Los
Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital. Focused solely on musculoskeletal
conditions in children, Orthopaedic Institute for Children receives
60,000 patient visits each year. In alliance with UCLA Health and with
the support of the OIC Foundation, we advance pediatric orthopaedics
worldwide through outstanding patient care, medical education and
research. Our locations in Downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Westwood,
and Calexico treat the full spectrum of pediatric orthopaedic disorders
and injuries. For more information, visit us at


Orthopaedic Institute for Children
Camille Strickland