No adult is going to stop children from throwing snowballs, but there are ways to minimize the potential dangers to other children by giving kids some basic advice, says Mary Gardner, administrative director of the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Children need to know that densely packed snowballs with rocks and sticks inside are very dangerous to the people they hit, Ms. Gardner points out. They also should be warned against throwing at someone's head or face. She says the most common injuries hospitals see from snowballs are face and scalp lacerations, eye damage and split lips.
Children must understand, too, how distracting snowballs aimed at cars and trucks can be to the drivers. Ms. Gardner points out that driving in snow is bad enough without the loud thumps of snowballs hitting the vehicle causing drivers to lose their concentration.
Ms. Gardner also tells parents to make their children come in from the cold once gloves and mittens get soaked. Frostbite is a real danger when kids stay out after protective gear on feet and hands get wet.