We love to get outside with our families and enjoy Idaho’s beautiful winters. But across the U.S., kids rack up more than 42,000 injuries every year from winter sports.

Follow these tips to keep the whole family injury-free and having fun while you play in the snow:

  • Always wear a helmet when you ski, snowboard, sled, snowmobile, or play ice hockey.
  • Make sure it’s the right type of helmet for the activity and meets federal safety standards. Have an expert fit the helmet correctly.
  • Wear sport-specific, properly fitting safety gear.
  • Dress in layers and wear warm, close-fitting clothes. Tuck in long scarves so they don’t get tangled in ski lifts.
  • Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen with a rating of SPF 15 or higher.
  • Never sled down a hill headfirst.
  • If children become distracted, irritable, or begin to hyperventilate, they may be suffering from hypothermia or altitude sickness, or they are too tired to participate safely. If you notice these signs, head indoors, rest, and warm up. It’s time for a hot chocolate!
  • Children under age 6 years should not ride a snowmobile, and no one under 16 years should drive one.
  • Teach kids how to protect themselves if they fall through ice: Stretch arms out wide and kick as if swimming, shout for help, and try to crawl backwards.
  • If you have questions or find yourself in need of resources, contact St. Luke’s Children’s Injury Prevention at (208) 381-1719

Safe Winter Walking

Snow and ice conditions caused by winter weather can change our normal environment. To decrease personal injuries because of snow and ice, we need to change our everyday behaviors and habits.

How to walk on ice:


  • Slightly bend your knees
  • Keep your center of gravity over your front leg
  • Walk flat-footed
  • Extend your arms


  • Walk fast
  • Take big steps
  • Put your hands in your pockets

Take charge of the conditions YOU can affect by doing the following:

  • Wear appropriate winter footwear such as snow boots; avoid high heels and leather soles.
  • Use a ski or trekking pole with a tip that will not slip.
  • Maintain a clear view in front of you and avoid carrying items that block your view or are heavy.
  • Avoid talking and texting on your phone while walking.
  • Know how you go; walk slowly and deliberately (think duck or penguin style) and use handrails.
  • When exiting OR entering a vehicle, maintain three points of contact between you, the ground and the vehicle.
  • Expect to encounter surfaces that could be slippery. They likely look shiny or have a smooth appearance.
  • If your location has not yet been cleaned, use snowmelt supplies at critical areas until service arrives.
  • Ask for help


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