While Mom and Dad are busy shoveling and blowing the recent snow off the porch and driveway, kids are out having fun sledding and playing in the white stuff.

Kira Huck is co-coordinator of Safe Kids Missoula, and she has some helpful tips to keeps kids safe while they’re playing in the snow this winter.

“Whether they’re sledding or participating in other snow sports like skiing and snowboarding, having the right kind of helmet is important,” Huck said. “Not all helmets are the same, and so a helmet your child wears while riding a bike may not be the right one to protect your child from an injury while sledding or skiing. For sledding, just being cautious is important, and I know that kids love to go fast downhill, and the injury we see most often is a fall. So, do whatever you can to keep that from happening.”

In addition to safety, Huck said it’s also important to keep them warm and dry while they’re outside.

“Just making sure the kids have the right coats, hats and gloves, and because the weather can change quickly, make sure you have extra dry outerwear in the car, in case they get cold and wet,” she said.

During the Christmas season, Huck said it’s wise for parents to think about safety inside the home, as well.

“The winter is one of the highest risk times for home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning,” she said. “Make sure the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly. It’s also important to make sure the children are not wearing coats while in their car seat, because they can’t be secured as tightly if they have a bulky winter coat on. Let’s talk about toy safety, as well. Make sure their Christmas presents are safe and age-appropriate, that there are no choking hazards. Button batteries are used in a lot of toys and they can be very dangerous if swallowed.”

Let the kids have fun in the snow, but have a mind for safety, as well, the experts say.

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