Snow tubing is an easy answer for those looking for some outside fun in the winter. Both kids and kids-at-heart can get in on the excitement of sliding and bouncing down a snow-covered slope in an inflated tube. While wintertime provides the perfect opportunity to engage in this favorite pastime, there are some things you should know if you plan on taking the little ones.
According to theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics, thirty percent of the children who were hospitalized following a sledding injury suffered significant head injuries, and a whopping ten percent of these children are still suffering from a permanent disability. It goes without saying that snow tubing is an absolute blast, but if you're not careful, your tiny tots can get seriously hurt.
If you're thinking about taking your toddler snow tubing, here are some great safety tips to help prevent a nasty injury from occurring this winter season.
Kid Safety Tips For Snow Tubing
Always Be Cautious
You can have the most cautious kiddos in the world who absorb every word you tell them about sledding safety, but there are still other children and sometimes even adults who are not as careful. Sledding injuries are no joke, and every year the ER is seeing more and more kids. When you take your little ones sledding, be extra cautious of their surroundings to mitigate injury.
Here are a few great tips to prevent a sledding injury from occurring:
- Avoid taking your little one sledding on hills that are overrun with big kids and teens who may be a little wild and reckless.
Avoid sleds that are made of wood or metal and take your kids sledding down an inflatable snow tube, which is much more cushioned and can prevent a tailbone injury. Don't have an inflatable snow tube? Take your little one sledding down your favoriteFUNBOY Pool Float, which doubles as a sled in the wintertime. These even come in fun, funky patterns, like thisPink Strawberry tube, to make your kiddo stand out on the slopes.
Protecting your kids from head trauma is important. Be sure to send them out snow tubing with a helmet.Pro-tip: If your little one makes a fuss about having to wear one, take them to a sports store so they can pick out their very own helmet and let them decorate it with fun stickers of their favorite crazy cartoon characters.
Choose The Right Hill
It's important to keep in mind that not every hill is created equal. Do not let your kids go sledding down just any hill in the neighborhood. Choose a hill that is specifically designed or designated for sledding and has a long, flat area at the bottom so your kids can easily glide to a stop.
Here are a handful of safety tips for finding a safe spot for your kids to sled:
- Find a hill that is perfect for sledding with deep, compact snow.
- Avoid hills that end near a parking lot or street.
- Stay away from hills that end near trees, ponds, fences, boulders, or other hazards.
- Make sure the hill does not have rocks, poles, bumps, or trees in the path that your little one will be sledding down.
- Do not let your kids sled in the dark. Sledding is always best during the day.
- Consider taking your toddler to a fun snow tubing park that has a specially designated kiddie hill for tots five years of age or younger.
Dress Your Kids For Success
Did you know that the little ones lose body heat much faster than adults? It's true, and as a result, they are much more susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite, which are extremely dangerous medical emergencies.
The best way to prevent these scary conditions from occurring is to dress your kids adequately for the cold winter temperatures—this includes warm snow boots, a cozy hat, gloves or mittens, and removable layers. Although your kids might complain about being overly bundled up, it will help them to stay warm throughout the day and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Here are some key safety tips for keeping the kiddos warm:
- Layer up with a waterproof outer layer and a moisture-wicking and warm inner layer.
Avoid dressing your kids in cotton because it tends to soak up moisture and does not dry as quickly as other types of material. Cold sweat or wet clothes can increase the risk of hypothermia. Say no to cotton andyesto wool.
If temperatures are around -15 degrees Fahrenheit, donot allow the kids to play outside. Play fun family games around the fire in the house instead.
- Have your kids take regular breaks from snow tubing and go inside for a warm drink like yummy hot cocoa.
- Make sure a warm shelter is nearby wherever your kids are playing.
- Use a buddy system, so your kiddos are never outside playing alone. Kiddos that are eight or younger should always be supervised by an adult.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Did you know that hypothermia sets in much faster when you're dehydrated? Keeping the kids properly hydrated is of the utmost importance for a day of snow tubing fun. If you plan on taking the kids snow tubing, make sure they are guzzling down plenty of fluids throughout the day. Whether that's just good ol' H2O or a warm cup of hot cocoa, be sure the kids are drinking plenty of fluids to keep dehydration and hypothermia at bay.
Here are a few tips to keep the little one's hydrated:
- Have your little one pick a reusable water bottle with a fun design that they can carry with them wherever they go.
- Send your kids out snow tubing with a large thermos of their favorite hot cocoa that they can share with their besties. (Don't forget the marshmallows!)
- Request your kids to come inside for a break every hour to get a drink.
- Sports drinks that are rich in electrolytes are an excellent choice to help keep your kids hydrated.
Protect Your Little Ones From The Sun
Believe it or not, summer isn't the only season that requires sunscreen. In fact, when there is snow on the ground, the sun's UV rays can be even more intense than the hotter months of the year. Why? Because snow is highly reflective. On a sunny winter day, clean, fresh snow can reflect up to 90% of UV radiation. This means that your kiddos can be exposed to almost a double dose of harmful UV rays—directly from the sun and reflected off snow-covered surfaces.
Here are some safety tips to protect your kids from the sun:
- Purchase a good quality sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that is broad-spectrum and water-resistant.
- Apply a generous amount of sunscreen to all exposed skin 20 minutes before your kids go outside and re-apply it every two hours.
Have your kids carry a small tube of SPF lip balm in their jacket to apply to their lips every so often. If you are snow tubing with your toddler, apply it to their lips for them. If you’re worried about losing your lip balm, you can store it in FUNBOY’sCrossbody Shearling Bum Bag for extra security.
Do not send your kids outside without UV sunglasses or snow goggles. Snow blindness—also known as photokeratitis—occurs when UV rays damage the outer layers (cornea) of the eyeball, essentially sunburning the eyes. Snow blindness can result in temporary loss of vision and can lead to chronic eye conditions in severe cases.
General Outdoor Winter Safety Tips
To you, it may sound like common sense to avoid standing near icy roads during the cold months of winter. However, children may be more excited about playing in the snow than thinking about their safety.
Before your little ones head outside for some snow tubing fun this winter, explain these ten recommended safety tips to them:
- Do not go near snowblowers and snowplows.
- Stay away from fences, roads, and open water.
- If you have to go across the street, find an adult. Icy roads can make it really challenging for drivers to stop quickly.
- Stay off of snowbanks on the side of the road.
- Never,ever build a snow fort or tunnel without an adult present.
- Never aim snowballs at cars. Throw them at safe targets, such as rocks or trees.
- Do not eat snow, especially if it's yellow.
Do not put metal objects in or near your mouth. Tongues and lips can easily freeze to metal objects in the winter. If you do happen to come in contact with metal for some reason and you're stuck, do not pull your lips or tongue as this can severely mangle them. Have a buddygrab an adult and some warm water to gently free yourself from the metal.
- Do not hang out near or around roofs. Heavy snow on roofs and dangling icicles are extremely dangerous.
If you start to lose feeling in your fingers or toes, come inside immediately to warm up. This could be an early sign offrostbite.
If you plan on taking your tiny tots to play in the snow, be sure to familiarize yourself with all of the great kid safety tips listed above to ensure a safe and fun snow tubing adventure this winter season.