Since we now have some snow and units are looking at sledding and skiing outings, its a good time to bring this up again ~ From the BSA:

We would like to advise you of a change to the Winter Sports Safety section of the Guide to Safe Scouting,

In the past, Section 3 stated that:

“Suitable clothing for the activity and environment should be worn at all times, and equipment should include gloves and helmets when appropriate.”

Based upon the review of General Liability claims history, along with a recommendation by the Risk Management Advisory Panel (two Scout executives from each region), and input from the Health and Safety Support Committee, the following change has been made to the Guide to Safe Scouting.

“Appropriate personal protective equipment is required for all activities. This includes the recommended use of helmets for all participants engaged in winter sports such as sledding and other sliding devices. The use of helmets is required for the following activities: downhill skiing, snowboarding, and operation of snowmobiles (full-face helmets).”

You are encouraged to post this on your unit, district and council web sites, put a link to Scouting Safely on your web site, and publish this in your newsletter.

We would like to remind you that when you engage in winter sports, please only use designated areas where rocks, tree stumps, and other potential obstacles have been identified and marked, cleared away, shielded, or buffered in some way. 

[Dan’s note: Last year I was out with a bunch of our Cubs in a non-Scouting related sledding party. Older boys were there building ramps, and the snow got packed and really slick. Good judgement gave way to having a good time, and my own son ended up with a bloody lip – fortunately nothing too serious. Sometimes we forget how dangerous it is to have a 8 year old flying down the hill at 20MPH on a piece of plastic! We knocked down the ramps and let them continue sledding. Have fun, but be safe!]