Slide through winter with these sledding and skating safety tips
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Slide through winter with these sledding and skating safety tips

Sledding

The City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health remind residents of the importance of wearing a hockey, ski or snowboard helmet while sledding. Proper head protection is critical when you’re sliding down a hill.

All children should be accompanied by an adult when sledding.

Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe while having fun:

  • Protect your head: wearing a helmet will help protect your brain. Look for a hockey, ski or snowboard helmet for full head protection. To learn more about helmet safety, including tips for choosing the right helmet for an activity, visit the Ottawa Public Health website(link is external).
  • Face forward: don’t go down the hill headfirst or on your back. Sit or kneel on your sled so you have control and can see where you’re sliding.
  • Make sure the route is clear: before going down the hill, check for hazards including other sledders, icy areas, trees, fences, roads and always avoid sledding near ponds, lakes or rivers.
  • Be in control: sled during daylight and be mindful of things like your sled type, weather conditions and the steepness of the hill. Avoid sledding when it’s icy and make sure the hill is well lit if you’re sledding at night. Choose a sled that is easy to control and avoid crazy carpets, saucers and inflatables.
  • Sled only at approved hills: before you go, find an approved sledding hill at ottawa.ca/sledding. There are more than 30 approved locations across the city.

Ice skating

Proper head protection is equally critical when you’re gliding across the ice. The City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health remind residents of all ages to wear a CSA-certified hockey helmet when ice skating.

Children 10 years old and under must be actively supervised by a responsible person 14 years or older at all indoor and outdoor rinks.

Skate safely with your friends and family with these tips:

  • Protect your head: children aged 10 and under must wear a CSA-certified hockey helmet at all City indoor arenas. At outdoor rinks, it is highly recommended that all skaters wear a CSA-certified helmet while on the ice. To learn more about helmet safety, visit the Ottawa Public Health website(link is external).
  • Be in control: be mindful of things like ice conditions, other skaters and your skating skills. Skate in the same direction as other skaters around the edge of the rink and leave the middle of the ice surface for children and less confident skaters. Avoid distractions and stay off your phone while skating.
  • Respect the rink rules: follow directions from rink attendants to ensure a safe and pleasant skating experience. Rough play is not permitted. Multiplayer games, and speed and figure skating are only permitted at certain locations or at specific times. Review the full list of permitted activities on our skating safety and regulations page.
  • Skate only at approved locations: before you go, check the status of the ice on our Outdoor rinks page. Outdoor rinks operated by the City may be closed because of extreme weather conditions or if the weather is mild. Try skating indoors at one of over 30 arenas across the city offering drop-in skating sessions – be sure to check the arena’s website for specific opening hours.

Now that you’ve reviewed these tips, it’s time to grab your helmet and have fun sledding and skating this season!

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