I am very happy that Ottawa children under the age of 10 will be required to wear protective helmets during public skating sessions held in City of Ottawa facilities effective January 1, 2012. It is estimated that 5,700 Ottawa children receive medical treatments for personal injury in Ottawa emergency rooms, and 400 children are hospitalized, every year because of sports-related head injuries. This is very disturbing. We all want kids to have fun but it cannot be at the expense of their safety. Please take all necessary safety measures when it comes to children’s safety. There are far too many serious injuries each year such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and serious orthopedic injuries.
The City of Ottawa offers the following Safe Skating Tips:
- Wear the gear! Wearing a CSA (Canadian Standards Association), Snell or ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) approved helmet, that fits properly, will help prevent head injury. It should be worn snugly, yet comfortably. Hockey helmets are recommended over cycling helmets because they can withstand multiple impacts. Wrist guards, elbow pads and knee pads help prevent wrist fractures, and bruises on knees and elbows.
- Choose properly fitting skates that give good support around your ankles (moulded skates are not recommended). Local sports stores should be able to help you with a proper fit. Remember, new skates must be sharpened before you go on the ice and then sharpened again each year at the start of the skating season.
- Lace your skates all the way up. You should never wrap the laces around your ankle. If the laces are too long, tie them in a double knot so you don’t trip over them.
- Wear only one pair of socks. Multiple pairs will make you feel colder and your skates might be too tight.
- Wear proper clothing: gloves, neck warmer, helmet, waterproof jacket and pants (NO jeans, as they will not keep you warm and dry if they get wet), long underwear, and a sweater should do the trick.
- Get trained! Instructors will be able to teach you the basics of skating, such as how to stop, how to fall safely, and how to get up after a fall. For lessons call 613-580-2596.
- Choose a surface that is relatively free of bumps and cracks to allow for more control and an easier time stopping. If skating on the Rideau Canal, watch for the green flags to ensure the conditions are safe. The N.C.C.’s Rideau Canal Skateway conditions hotline is: (613) 239-5234, press 1,1
- Watch where you are going, and always skate with the traffic. If you want to stop, head to the side so you won’t get in anyone’s way.
Avoid the following:
- Skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway when the red flags are flying.
- Skating too fast – this puts you and those around you at risk.
- Playing sports unless in a designated area (ex: hockey).
- Holding on to more than one person – this increases your chance of falling and hurting someone else.
- Placing sharp items in your pockets (ie. keys, combs, etc.).
- Using your toe-pick to start or stop (this will ruin the ice surface, and it won’t give the stability you need to safely start or stop), or removing bottom pick (designed to help you balance).
- Clothing with drawstrings.
–Enjoy this winter and please be safe. -Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth