When it comes to playing in the snow, we tend to not think about the dangers. Dangers do exist. A lot of people are getting ready to head to the snow, but there are several steps they should take, before taking that trip. Here are tips on how to travel, dress, and play in the snow.
Before getting there:
Inspect your car - brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, heater, tires & exhaust system must be in top condition.
Carry Chains - have the proper size & know how to stall them. Must be placed on drive wheels, know if your car is front or rear wheel drive.
Pack extra provisions - extra car key, first-aid kit, water, food, warm blankets, extra clothing, ice scraper, broom, shovel, burlap or towels for traction.
Check road conditions - Caltrans road conditions hotline 1-800-427-ROAD (7623)
Dress in layers - wool is best for insulation & doesn't absorb moisture. Cotton absorbs moisture, adding to the cold, long johns, gloves, & hats should be added.
Baby clothes - dress babies & young kids in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions. Use one piece sleepers for sleeping rather than blankets. Use caps to cover heads.
Boots - should be able to accommodate thick wool socks. Too tight can constrict blood vessels which diminishes circulation can add to the cold & increase potential for frost bite.
Prevent hypothermia - low body temperature, a body temperature at or below 95-degrees is an emergency. Signs & symptoms are shivering, exhaustion, confusion, slurred speech. Treatment: remove wet clothing, get person warm with electric blanket or skin to skin contact under loose dry blankets, drink warm beverages if the person can tolerate swallowing. Do not drink alcoholic beverages. Seek medical attention immediately.
Acute mountain sickness - (aka high altitude sickness, HAPE, altitude anoxia) can occur around 8,000 ft. with exertion. Signs & symptoms: dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea/vomiting, loss of appetite, rapid pulse, shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping, confusion, cough. Treatment; descend to lower altitude, provide oxygen if available, seek medical attention.
Stay Hydrated - make certain to drink water. Avoid alcoholic beverages or caffeine.
Use designated "snow play" areas
Use sleds away from motor vehicles
Sled feet first or sitting up, not head first
Sled on snow, not ice
Never ski or snowboard alone
Stay on groomed runs & avoid trees, tree wells, or deep snow
Wear a helmet & goggles, or other eye protection against reflective sun rays
Adjust the fit of children's bindings, equipment & gear, annually
Match the ability of the skier with the slope