I thought it might be a good idea to give you my top tips and first aid advice for a family ski trip at about 2.30 am this morning when I found myself yelling “MAKE SURE YOU WEAR A HELMET….” as my son set off for a week’s ski trip with a bunch of mates. Family ski trips with my 2 sons were always fun and ALWAYS eventful – “Remember the year dad lost the keys to hire car just as they closed the slopes ….” or “….when mum freaked out on a Red and Joe had to ski backwards all the way down with her in tears!”
Thankfully, apart from the odd bump and bruise we didn’t have any major incidents but things can go wrong and it’s a good idea to be prepared before you go. Skiing is a fantastically exhilarating sport – so long as you’re aware of the right way to do it. When skiing with children, safety is especially important and teaching them the basics of skiing safety and making sure they are aware of any dangers is quite simple.
Before You Go
When planning your holiday look for ski resorts that actively think about making your experience as safe as possible and provide a range of services including first aid and medical attention if necessary – so if you do have an accident you’ll be well looked after.
Check out SkiClub Great Britain for useful info: www.skiclub.co.uk http://www.skiclub.co.uk/
Staying Safe While Skiing
If your children have only been a few times before, or not at all, then booking lessons to build their confidence and teach them the various do’s and don’ts of skiing safety is essential.
Ski Safety Equipment
Clothing & Protection
The best way to stay safe during any slips or tumbles is to make sure children have the appropriate clothing and protective gear.
Essential items for a safe time on the slopes:
Ski jacket – the thicker the better to soften the impact of any falls.
Vests –protective vests, including junior versions, have a lot of padding and will prevent any impact being too severe.
Helmets – important for obvious reasons. Make sure they fit correctly and are comfortable.
Sun Visors – protective eyewear is absolutely essential, especially for children’s sensitive eyes . They also help your child see and navigate more safely.
High factor face and lip protection – it’s very easy to get seriously burnt on the slopes, even when it’s cloudy
First Aid Kit – an off the shelf kit is fine but add things like a thermal blanket, blister plasters, sudocrem, arnica etc..
Rest & Recovery
Sleep – Children need their sleep at the best of times (and so do the parents!), but to keep them energised enough to ski happily it’s important to make sure they get plenty of sleep.
Food – Make sure your children are eating the right foods and take high-energy snacks such as nuts and cereal bars with you when out on the slopes.
Pacing – it’s easy to get exhausted on the first morning skiing, it’s a good idea to ease in gently and keep the first day a little bit more subdued so that all the family can get used to the exercise and then gradually build up.
First Aid On The Slopes
In the event of an accident:
Danger – be aware of the surroundings and do not put yourself at risk.
- Secure the area around the accident – protect with crossed skis or planted snowboard above the injured person.
- If necessary, position someone prominently at the top of the slope to warn people about the accident
- Get help – emergency numbers are printed on most piste maps or at ski schools and you can note them down when buying your lift pass. Always start the day with a fully charged phone.
Response – are they conscious? If so, check if they need your help.
If there is no response:
Airway – check it is clear
Breathing – check for normal breathing (strange sounding gasps for air is NOT normal breathing)
If they are breathing, stay with them and monitor their airway while someone gets help. If you are alone with the casualty and you have to leave them to get help you need to put them in the recovery position first.
If they are not breathing, start CPR (for a child give 5 breaths and then 30 chest compressions to 2 breaths). For an adult, go straight to 30 chest compressions and then 2 breaths.
Bleeding – cover any wounds and apply direct firm pressure to stop the flow of blood.
Hypothermia makes it more difficult for blood to clot, conserve their body heat and insulate them from the cold with a foil blanket or cover them above and below with jackets etc.
Do not reposition limbs you think could be broken, unless there is immediate concern about the circulation to the lower part of the limb.
Keep the casualty safe and warm.
Do not give them anything to eat or drink, especially alcohol. Do not move them if there is any risk of a spinal injury (unless for example they vomit and you need to clear the airway) – do not remove their ski helmet
Alert mountain rescue
The telephone number is normally on the piste map.
Let the rescue services know:
- the location of the accident (piste name and nearest piste marker)
- the number of people injured
- the type of injury
Establish the facts of a serious accident
- Names and addresses of people involved as well as witnesses.
- Place, time and circumstances of accident.
- Terrain, snow conditions and visibility.
- Markings and signs.
Early signs of frostbite include unnaturally white patches of skin on the face or hands
Take regular breaks and thaw frozen flesh with body heat and massage. Never put frostbitten hands or feet in hot water or on radiators.
We recommend that you attend a practical first aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Have a look at our courses at: http://www.safeandsound.uk.net/course-type/first-aid/ or call us on 020 8445 8998 for more information .
We wish you a fantastic family holiday and hope you come back Safe and Sound!
The information in this article is for guidance only and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. Safe and Sound is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.