Each year, an average of 122 children and youth visit the BC Children’s Hospital emergency department for skiing and snowboarding-related injuries.
“Sixty per cent of skiing and snowboarding-related injuries that result in a visit to the BC Children’s Hospital emergency department are among kids aged 10 to 14-years-old,” said Dr. Ian Pike, director of the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit at BC Children’s Hospital.
Children’s bodies are still developing at this age, and sudden growth spurts can affect the body’s centre of gravity.
“This change in the body’s centre of gravity can affect kids’ balance and body control skills. As skiing and snowboarding require a lot of coordination and balance, these kids may be at greater risk of injury,” said Dr. Pike.
Adults are also at risk of getting seriously hurt. “Each year in British Columbia, an average of 439 adults are hospitalized from skiing and snowboarding, and of those, 10 per cent have severe injuries,” said Dr. Mike Christian, provincial medical director of Trauma Services BC.
Adds Dr. Christian, “the age group that has seen the most skiing and snowboarding-related hospitalizations in recent years is 20 to 29-year-olds. Of course, go ahead and have fun, but remember to be mindful of what you can do to prevent injury.”
To avoid any kind of injury on the slopes, experts remind skiers and snowboarders of all ages to wear a helmet, stay on marked runs, know their limits and be aware of their surroundings. Another person could lose control, fall, and create a collision.
Risk factors for injury include tiredness and poor visibility in low light, so remember to stay in well-lit areas, grab a snack and take rests to avoid getting tired.
- Add the ski hill emergency number to your cell phone contacts list. If you need to use it, the emergency operator will dispatch ski patrol right away and get you a faster response than if you send someone for help or wait for a passer-by.
- If someone is seriously injured, contact emergency services (ski patrol if at a ski resort). It's not always safe to move a person. Talk to them and keep them warm until help arrives.
- Go with a buddy—don’t ski or snowboard alone.
- Ensure your ski and snowboard equipment is tuned up annually.
- Dress in layers, wear gloves, socks and UV-blocking goggles or sunglasses.
- Pack a whistle. If you end up hurt or off a marked run, you can make noise to get attention.
BC Children’s Hospital, a program of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides expert care for the province’s most seriously ill or injured children, youth and young adults, including newborns. Child and Youth Mental Health provides a diverse range of specialized and one-of-a-kind tertiary mental health and substance use services for children, adolescents and young adults across the province. For more information, visit
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BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit is a leader in the production and transfer of injury prevention knowledge, supporting the integration of prevention practice into the daily lives of British Columbians. Established in August 1997, the Unit is a core research program within the “Evidence to Innovation” theme at the research institute of BC Children's Hospital. For more information, visit
www.injuryresearch.bc.ca or follow us on Twitter
Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) provides specialized
health care services and programs to communities across British Columbia, the territories of many distinct First Nations. We are grateful to all the First Nations who have cared for and nurtured this land for all time, including the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səlil̓w̓ətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations on whose unceded and ancestral territory our head office is located. We work in partnership with other B.C. health authorities and the provincial government to deliver province-wide solutions that improve the health of British Columbians. For more information, visit www.phsa.ca or follow us
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