Snowboarding is a fun way for kids to enjoy themselves while getting some exercise. Snowboarding is easy to learn but it also presents some dangers including; frostbite, sunburn, blown knees and head injuries. Always think in terms of safety first.
- Helmets are mandatory. Ensure the helmet fits properly and remind your children that wearing a helmet means they still have to snowboard responsibly.
- Make sure you fit your children with snowboarding safety equipment. Helmets are only the beginning. Protective equipment also includes; hats, headbands, gloves, goggles with built-in sunglasses, hand warmers and boot warmers too. Hand and foot warmers are necessary because they protect children from frostbite.
- When you dress your child in layers you can always add or subtract depending on the weather. Be sure your children wear sun protection (sun block), even on cloudy days. The sun reflects off the snow and UV rays do not respect a cloud cover, especially in late winter. You can actually get sunburned on a snowboarding vacation.
- Snowboard pants should be the correct size while allowing your children’s legs to move freely. Getting pants with a little extra padding in the seat is a very good idea for beginners. They will fall on their rear ends on more than a few occasions. When you buy snowboarding pants make sure they are waterproof or water-resistant.
- The best jackets will have multiple pockets so your children can store gear. Down jackets tend to be the warmest but thin shells with extra intermediate layers will work just as well. Remember, with layers you can always add and subtract. Just like snowboard pants all snowboard jackets should be waterproof or water-resistant.
- You need to get your children boots that fit properly and keep their feet comfortable and warm. Boots should always be buckled up snugly to give feet and ankles the proper support.
Ski / Snowboarding Trails Rules and Etiquette:
If you have a child that is a beginner put them in snowboarding school so they get it right from day one. Children’s instructors understand how to teach kids, they are professionals at it.
Make sure your children understand the rules and follow them. Insist that your children understand not to go past the ski area boundary or snowboard into a closed area. These areas are off-limits for a reason and they are not patrolled by the ski patrol. Those areas could be hazardous and the risk is not worth the adventure. Remind them to pay close attention and to obey any warning signs they might see.
Always snowboard with a friend. Any child can take a bad fall and possibly become unable to continue skiing. If the child is alone this could become an extremely serious issue, even if they have a cell phone. By snowboarding together each child can look out for each other and if necessary summon the ski patrol. Make sure at least one child has a cell phone with them and absolutely make sure they have an emergency number to call in their phonebook. Also put contact information in a secure zippered pocket inside their jacket.
Teach your children to practice snowboarding etiquette:
- Skiers and snowboarders in front of them or below them on the trail have the right of way.
- Never stop in the middle of a trail or anywhere where they can’t be seen from above, such as below a dropoff.
- Look uphill to make sure no one is coming toward them before they start down a trail or merge onto a new trail.
- If they’re passing another skier or snowboarders on a catwalk or narrow trail, have them call out “On your right” or “On your left” to let people know they’re approaching.
Make sure your children are aware of and honest about their snowboarding ability. If they are beginners, have them stick to the beginner slopes until they are capable of moving up to something steeper. Most ski trails are clearly marked as green circles (beginner terrain), blue squares (intermediate terrain), or black diamonds (advanced terrain). If a trail says it’s for experts only, believe the sign, they are serious. Children also need to understand that it is OK to stop when they get tired.
Your children will see all kinds of wild stunts done by snowboarders during the Winter Olympics or just from surfing YouTube. Those stunts are done by people who have been snowboarding for years and have accrued a significant amount of practice and training hours getting to that level. Please make sure your children understand that those stunts are not nearly as easy as they look and are potentially very dangerous, especially for amateurs.
Make sure your children understand the importance and value of taking breaks. The probability of injury increases when a child is over-tired. Also, make sure you provide them with healthy snacks and water. Snowboarding is a physical activity and they will need to replenish energy and stay hydrated.
Frostbite is always a potential danger with outdoor wintertime activities. Download this outstanding guide on Frostbite from Nationwide Children’s Hospital of Columbus Ohio.
To learn more about snowboarding safety please click the “Snowboardng Safety Video” tab at the top of the page.