How to Help Keep Your Child Safe While Snowboarding

Youth snowboarding safety

Snowboarding offers an exhilarating blend of speed, agility, and fun, making it a beloved winter sport for children and adults alike. However, as with any high-adrenaline activity, it comes with its share of risks. As parents, understanding these risks and taking proactive steps can significantly reduce the chances of injuries, offering the peace of mind that your child’s experience on the slopes is both safe and joyful.

Understanding the Risks of Snowboarding

Before your child straps on their snowboard, you may want to take a moment with them and shed some light on how things can quickly take a turn if they’re not paying attention or are feeling more confident than their abilities would allow. Snowboarding involves navigating varied terrains at speed, making falls and collisions simply part of the status quo – regardless of rider experience.

For young riders who may just be starting, common injuries include sprained wrists, a bruised tailbone, and, more seriously, head injuries like concussions. Now, of course, you don’t want to scare them either! We’re here to help you with the necessary information that will allow you and your child to approach the mountain with the right amount of caution and confidence.

Why Children are More Susceptible to Injuries

Children’s bodies are still developing strength and coordination, making them more vulnerable to the physical demands that snowboarding requires. Of course, this doesn’t mean they should avoid the sport, but rather that parents and instructors should be extra vigilant in guiding them and ensuring they’re equipped with the right knowledge and gear.

Prior to approaching their first slope, it may behoove us parents to work with our young riders-to-be on situational awareness and being fully cognizant of their surroundings. Simple things like looking up the mountain before turning or even beginning can be the difference between an enjoyable run and a collision. The other area you can make a profound impact on the safety of your child is ensuring they have the best gear that will help prevent injuries that are known to happen on the mountain.

Essential Snowboarding Gear for Safety

The right gear can be a game-changer when it comes to preventing injuries for young riders. After all, this sport has been around for some time and everyone who’s been on a board will tell you the things they wish they had prior to taking that first doozy of a spill.

A well-fitted helmet is non-negotiable – it’s often mandatory for riders under 18 and is the primary defense against head injuries. Wrist guards, knee pads, tailbone pads – a big one we recommend for first timers, and proper fitting snowboarding attire can provide additional support and protection. You won’t have to worry about spending your life savings on this either, albeit you definitely can!

When it comes to finding the right piece of gear at a price that accommodates your budget, knowing the right brands to look at can feel a bit daunting – especially with how many there are! While there are many brands out there that are bound to keep your child safe across all price ranges, here are a few prominent brands known for their commitment to snowboarding safety with a wide array of prices and tiers, ensuring your investment will allow your young rider to enjoy the slopes with peace of mind.

  • Burton: Burton stands as a titan in the snowboarding world, renowned for its innovative designs and commitment to safety. Their helmets are engineered with meticulous attention to detail, ensuring not just comfort but superior protection. The incorporation of advanced materials and technology, like MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), enhances the ability of Burton helmets to absorb and redirect impact forces, offering unparalleled protection. Burton’s wrist guards and protective padding are also designed with the athlete’s safety and comfort in mind, making them a top choice for parents prioritizing their child’s safety. When you’re on the mountain or in the lodge, chances are you’ll see the name Burton everywhere – and for good reason.
  • Smith Optics: Smith Optics has become synonymous with excellence in protective snowboarding gear and eyewear. Their helmets are celebrated for their robust construction and cutting-edge features, such as the Aerocore technology, which enhances airflow and temperature regulation while providing increased impact resistance. Smith Optics also offers a range of snowboarding goggles that integrate seamlessly with their helmets, ensuring complete protection without compromising visibility due to the common issue other brands face of the lenses fogging up.
  • Giro: Giro is a brand that has consistently set benchmarks in snowboarding safety gear – especially helmets. Their helmets are a fusion of style, comfort, and safety, featuring advanced technologies like the In-Mold Construction and the Roc Loc Fit System, ensuring a secure and customized fit. Giro’s commitment to safety extends beyond helmets; their protective gear, including wrist guards and knee pads, is designed to offer maximum protection without hindering mobility, allowing young athletes to perform their best while staying safe. We love Giro because they often have fantastic safety options that meet any budget.

Regardless of the brand of snowboarding gear you pick for your child, it’s imperative to ensure that it fits perfectly. Gear that’s too tight or too loose can compromise its protective capabilities, making it a miserable experience when they’re up on the slopes in the cold with only one way back down. We highly recommend you take the time to measure your child accurately and consult sizing charts provided by these reputable brands. This can truly make or break their experience with the sport!

Preparing Your Child for the Slopes

Understanding the physical demands of snowboarding is also very important when it comes to setting a proper expectation for what your young rider is about to get into. As much as we would like it to be, the first few days of riding usually end in a bruised ego and a bruised bottom!

Encourage exercises that enhance balance, flexibility, and core strength prior to strapping in. Activities like yoga or simple at-home stretches can make a big difference in developing the right flexibility that will allow younger riders to move more effectively.

Snowboarding is a very foreign movement for those who have not done it before, so while it may be easy to relate it to things like skateboarding, you may want to set the expectation that your child may not be hitting the 6-foot ramps on their first few runs. If your child has not been on a board before, we highly suggest investing in a lesson or two prior to joining their friends who may have a few more days or weeks of experience.

Teaching Safe Snowboarding Techniques

Proper technique is always going to be your child’s best protection against injuries. Again, we highly recommend you consider professional group or private lessons where they can learn the basics of balance, turning, and stopping safely. As much as you may want to believe your child will listen to your advice about being aware of their surroundings, sometimes it can be better to hear about the importance of respecting other snowboarders’ space to avoid collisions from the cool instructor from Australia with the look and vibe of a great snowboarder.

Recognizing and Responding to Injuries

Despite all kinds of precautions, the variability of an open run on a crowded mountain means that accidents can happen. If you aren’t able to be there with your child on their first few runs, ensure that their instructor or group is equipped with a means of getting in touch with you and medical help should your young rider need it. Being prepared with a cell phone or even a walkie talkie can make a significant difference. Teach your child to recognize when they’re hurt and to seek help immediately rather than trying to ‘shake it off’ so they don’t feel embarrassed in front of their friends or others taking the lesson.

Snowboarding is a fantastic sport that can teach children about balance, coordination, and situational awareness while offering the incredible atmosphere of the wonderful outdoors. By taking the right precautions and ensuring your child is mentally and physically prepared, you can minimize the risks while maximizing the fun.

These posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered as specific financial, legal or tax advice. Depending on your individual circumstances, the strategies discussed in this post may not be appropriate for your situation. Always consult your legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. In providing such information, Great American does not warrant that all potential hazards or conditions have been evaluated or can be controlled. The liability of Great American Insurance Company is limited to the terms, limits and conditions of the insurance policies underwritten. ©2024 Great American Insurance Company. All Rights Reserved. Great American Insurance Group’s member companies are subsidiaries of American Financial Group, Inc. (AFG). AFG is a holding company whose common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Policies are underwritten by Great American Insurance Company, an authorized insurer in all 50 states and the DC. Please see Great American Insurance Company’s Legal Disclosures/Terms and Conditions here.

Follow us and share your stories


connect with us

Questions? Want to learn more? Connect with real people at pomi to learn all the ways we can help.