Hint: it isn’t who you might think.
Ski season is coming fast, (or already here, depending on your location). Every smart skier wants to protect their head and knees in order to thrive and participate on the hills as long as possible.
But accidents happen. And when most of us think of them, we likely imagine adults who have strayed off the beaten path and challenged themselves to a cliff or two, as being the victims.
Or, you might picture someone involved in extreme skiing via helicopter, and all that this can entail.
Research shows, however, that it isn’t just these groups that put themselves in the greatest danger on the slopes. Some of the worst skiing accidents happen to young children. And they aren’t just twisting an ankle.
A study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2019 National Conference & Exhibition revealed that for elementary school-aged children, ski injuries are more likely to involve fractures to their head or face. Ouch.
“These injuries can be very severe and should be a concern to any parent with a child involved in these sports,” said Robert J. McLoughlin, MD, MSCI. “Almost a quarter — 23% of children (in the study)– suffered intercranial injuries, which we found were more common among young children.”
It was found that over half of children hospitalized due to a skiing accident required major surgical intervention.
In comparison with their younger counterparts, middle school and high school youth were more likely to experience intra-abdominal injuries while skiing.
Researchers say they are hoping their findings will better inform educational and legislative efforts aimed at reducing injuries in children who participate in winter sports.
As far as parents go, if you are contemplating ski lessons this winter, maybe it’s a good idea to wait until the kids are a bit older.
Always wear a helmet, and stay safe.