January 03, 2008
With winter well underway and abundant fresh snow on our local mountain tops, many children and families will be hitting the slopes to ski or snowboard this season. Dr. Francois D. Lalonde, orthopaedic surgeon at Childrens’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), recommends that parents take simple precautions to prevent their children and families from injury while enjoying the winter fun.
Common injuries for snowboarding and skiing enthusiasts include forearm, shoulder, knee and ankle injuries ranging from sprains and strains to fractures. While snowboarding and skiing are similar, they vary when it comes to the type of injuries usually sustained by participants of each sport. Skiing tends to result in more knee and lower extremity injuries, while snowboarding tends to result in shoulder, wrist, forearm, and ankle injuries.
CHOC and Dr. Lalonde offer the following tips to ensure a fun and safe winter season on the slopes.
Stretch and warm up: Proper conditioning can minimize the risk of injury and optimize performance. Make sure you and your children are warmed up. This can be as simple as walking, marching in one place, or doing a few jumping jacks. A good strength exercise is a half squat, this will strengthen legs, knees, and ankles. A good core exercise is a core twist in each direction.
Use proper safety gear/equipment: The lack of proper gear is a common factor in sports injuries. Make sure your children are using the following:
Helmet – Crucial to decreasing severity of head injury. Also, the back of the head is a frequent impact area.
Wrist and elbow guards – can ease the injury on the joints of the upper body
Knee pads – help prevent bruises and sprains
Boots – soft ones are recommended for beginners
Snowboard – start with an all-purpose snowboard
Goggles – help with visual clarity and protect eyes from harsh weather
Dress appropriately: Make sure your family is wearing the right amount of layers to match the weather and each person’s activity level. Wear a hat or helmet liner and gloves.
Get proper instruction: Take a lesson from a qualified instructor before you hit the slopes. Ensure that your children know how to properly use the equipment.
Follow the rules: Children should be supervised at all times. Make sure your family understands and obeys posted warning signs. Avoid icy slopes. Do not go off-trail.
Ski or snowboard with a friend: Pre-arrange a meeting place in case you get separated. Use walkie-talkies if possible.
Take a break: Just like any other sport, lots of energy is being used while gliding through the slopes. Take a moment to rest. While resting, make sure you have something to eat or drink.
Named one of the best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report (2014-2015) and a 2013 Leapfrog Top Hospital for the highest quality of care, Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children's) is exclusively committed to the health and well-being of children through clinical expertise, advocacy, outreach, education and research that brings advanced treatment to pediatric patients. Affiliated with the University of California, Irvine, CHOC’s regional health care network includes two state-of-the-art hospitals in Orange and Mission Viejo, many primary and specialty care clinics, a pediatric residency program, and four clinical centers of excellence - the CHOC Children’s Heart, Neuroscience, Orthopaedic and Hyundai Cancer Institutes.. CHOC earned the Gold Level CAPE Award from the California Council of Excellence, the only children’s hospital in California to ever earn this distinction, and was awarded Magnet designation, the highest honor bestowed to hospitals for nursing excellence. Recognized for extraordinary commitment to high-quality critical care standards, CHOC’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is the first in the United States to earn the Beacon Award for Pediatric Critical Care Excellence.
Denise Almazan, Director of Public Relations
phone: (714) 509-8680