Mid-term hasn’t rolled around over here yet. It’s usually then that a lot of people tend to head off for a few days skiing, especially those with sholl-going children. We haven’t been for several years, but we have been tobogganing and hope to go skiing agin next year.
Due to a horrible accident a few years ago, I am overly sensitive when it comes to skiing and tobogganing with the kids. We were very, very lucky that the consequences of the accident weren’t a lot worse. It was four years ago that my son got a bad injury and, although I had awful images of it in my head for a long time afterwards, I really thought I was over it. He certainly seems to be. He made a speedy recovery and still loves the snow.
Recently I mentioned his accident in passing to a couple of friends I have only met over the past couple of years. They asked what had happened and as I explained I noticed my voice begin to tremble and my eyes begin to sting with tears. I’m not over the shock of it yet. But maybe that’s a good thing, since the whole experience has made me a lot more aware of the accidents that can happen and how quickly fun can turn into a nightmare.
These, in no particular order, are are my top snow safety tips for when you hit the slopes with your children.
To be blunt – WEAR A HELMET. MAKE YOUR CHILDREN WEAR A HELMET. Yes, you will look a lot less cool that without one. But you will also be a good role model for your children and you could well prevent yourself and them from head injuries which are all too easily got. Whether you are hurting down the piste or walking down the gentle slope of the children’s ski school (the scene of our accident), an accident can happen in the blink of an eye.
You want to go tobogganing? Do! It is one of the most fun things you can do in the snow. But check with the local tourist office or mountain rescue where you can do it safely. Broad, gentle slopes with no trees, rocks, roads or ice are suitable. Many ski resorts have special areas marked out for tobogganing and you can rest easy that major dangers have been checked out.
Unless you want to end up spending your long-awaited ski holiday nursing a sick child, remember to keep them warm. Layers are best. If the sun comes out, it can easily get too warm but once it goes in again the chill will go right through you if you don’t wrap up again. The same goes for when you take a break. Make sure your children take off helmets, hats, jackets and gloves when they go indoors and put them all back on again before heading back out again. It can be a chore, but at the end of the day it is better that them being chilled to the bone or sweated through.
Keep your eyes open at all times. Know where your children are and if they are still young hold on to them while on the slopes. Make sure to explain to them that being on a ski slope is akin to being out on a road. There is traffic all around and they need to watch their step. Remeber too that they are children and there is snow. They will get distracted. They will think they know better than they do. You are the one who has to keep an eye out for danger and notice risks.
Dressing your child in bright colours and having them wear something which allows you to easily identify them as yours is a big help. Out on the slopes there are a lot of people and the last thing you want to do is lose sight of your child.
Trying not to let your fears rub off on your children can be really tricky at times but I am pleased to say that our tobogganing was a huge success this year and I’m looking forward to getting the skis back on next year at the latest.