Always wear appropriate and proper-fitting protective gear, including a helmet when skiing, sledding, snowboarding or playing hockey.
Wear layers of close-fitting clothing; keep scarves tucked in.
Be aware of the potential for frostbite, which can be associated with hypothermia and require emergency medical care. Children can be at a greater risk because they lose heat from their skin more rapidly.
The areas most prone to frostbite are the nose, ears, hands, feet, face and head. Appropriate clothing can help reduce the risk of frostbite.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 16,000 people are treated in emergency rooms annually for injuries sustained while removing snow manually; more than 6,000 while using a snowblower.
To clear snow safely:
- Remove twigs, rocks and toys or other items from your driveway and sidewalks before the snow starts.
- Check with your physician and be sure you are healthy enough for strenuous activity.
- Dress appropriately, including a head covering, mittens or gloves, socks and slip-resistant shoes.
- Clear snow early and often and pace yourself; take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
- Use an appropriate shovel for your height and ability and use proper lifting technique. Don't twist and throw the snow over your shoulder.
- If you use asnowblower, remember to protect your eyes and ears with safety glasses and earplugs, especially with gas-powered models.
- Never put your hand inside the machine. If it jams, turn it off and remove the jam with a solid object.
- Do not leave the device unattended when it is turned on.
- Never add fuel when the engine is running.
- Stay away from the engine. It can be hot enough to burn.
- Be aware of the power cord, if using an electric model, so you don't trip over it.
- Never remove any safety devices.
- Keep children 15 and younger indoors whensnowblowersare in use.
Further facts are at shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.
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