Parachute - Preventing Injuries. Saving Lives.
Winter safety

Winter safety

Winter can be a wonderful time for outdoor play. Participating in winter sports will help keep the whole family healthy, but injuries can spoil the fun. Here's how to keep kids safe during winter play.

Safe weather for outdoor play

Children should play indoors if the temperature or the wind chill falls below -25 C (-13 F). This is the temperature at which exposed skin freezes in a few minutes.

Clothing for outdoor play

Boy wearing a helmet playing ice hockeyAll winter activities require warm, dry clothing. To prevent frostbite, children should be dressed in warm clothes, including:

Children should get out of wet clothes and shoes as quickly as possible as they are the biggest factors in frostbite.

Always make sure children:

Ice factors

Keep children away from the banks of ponds, lakes, streams and rivers during the spring thaw. Beware of quick thaws which can weaken the ice surface. Many factors affect ice thickness including: type of water, location, the time of year and other environmental factors such as:

Ice colour

The colour of ice may be an indication of its strength:

Ice thickness should be

Sledding and tobogganing


Some ride them for fun during winter weekends at the cottage. Others ride them to run errands for the family and get around town. The reasons for riding are different, but the risks are the same. Snowmobiling is fun, but it can also be dangerous, especially for children. Many children are seriously injured each year, sometimes fatally, by operating or riding on a snowmobile.

Statistics from the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program show that the main causes of child snowmobile-related injuries are losing control of the machine, being thrown off or colliding with an immobile object, such as a tree or another snowmobile. Children have also been seriously injured as passengers or while being towed behind a snowmobile in a tube or sled.

To keep your kids safe, Parachute recommends the following:

Snowmobiles are powerful and heavy machines, weighing up to 600 pounds and reaching speeds of more than 100 kilometres per hour. The size and power of snowmobiles make them inappropriate for a child's smaller body size. Manufacturers now make 'kid-sized' snowmobiles but pediatric injury experts warn against using these machines. Regardless of the size of a child, their motor skills, perception, field of vision, and judgment capabilities are not equal to those of an adult. These differences in development are the reason why we have a legal driving age for motor vehicles on a public road.

Contact your provincial or territorial snowmobile association, Ministry of Transportation, or The Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations at (506) 387-8960 for more information.