Hockey is the winter activity that sends children and youth to emergency departments most often.

Hockey and Ice Skating

Injuries during hockey occur due to falls or collisions with other players, the boards, sticks or the puck. There is a wide range of injuries that occur during hockey. Head and neck injuries are the most serious (13%) and fractures are the most common (24%).

When ice skating or playing hockey:

  • Always wear a CSA approved hockey helmet when playing hockey or ice skating.
  • Hockey players should wear helmet with a face mask, a mouth guard, gloves and protective elbows, pads and shoulder pads.
  • Ensure skates are comfortable and have good ankle support.
  • Skate in the same direction as everyone else on the ice when public skating.
  • Supervise young children and be sure they have access to proper support by holding your hand or the outside of the rink.
  • Always have an adults check the thickness of ice on an outdoor lake or pond before skating on it. Ice should be 10 cm (4” inches) thick for skating alone or 20 cm (8 inches) thick for skating parties or games. Stay away from ice near open water.

Skiing and snowboarding

Most serious injuries and deaths in skiing and snowboarding are due to collisions with trees and lift equipment.

Skiers are most likely to be injured in collisions, whereas, snowboarders are most likely to be injured due to falling. Snowboarders commonly injure their wrists when they fall and skiers commonly injure their legs, especially their knees. Head and neck injuries are also increasing in these sports and can lead to death or permanent disability.

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that when you are skiing or snowboarding:

  • Wear a helmet and goggles for skiing and snowboarding
  • Wear wrist guards while snowboarding.
  • Ensure all of the equipment is adjusted and fits you properly, especially bindings.
  • Take lessons and practice on easier runs before moving onto more challenging ones. Supervise your children and choose a run that is appropriate for your child’s ability.
  • Know the Alpine Responsibility Code and take the recommended safety precautions.