Safety Tips in Recreational Activities

Safety tips in recreational activities

There are a lot of fun activities that youth and adults participate in to keep active, including skateboarding, in-line skating, biking and swimming to name a few.

Make sure to keep your entire family safe when on a family outing. No matter what kinds of activities you choose, you can limit the number of injuries that occur and have a good safe time.

Important Tips to think about prior to planning your recreation outing:

  • Stay hydrated - Always bring a water bottle with you when participating in an activity.
  • Know your limits - Do not plan activities that you are not capable of doing. Planning your activities around your family’s activity level will keep injuries from occurring due to exhaustion.
  • Bring a First Aid kit - You should always carry a basic first aid kit with you whenever you do any sort of outdoor recreation.
  • Use protective gear - Ensure that you have the necessary equipment to do your activity.
  • Keep your equipment in good shape.

The following information describes tips on how to 'play safe' by wearing the proper protective equipment and evaluating the environment for risks.

Cycling Sense

Bicycles are vehicles and cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists!

Follow the rules of the road...

  • stop at all stop signs and red lights
  • cycle on the right side of the road
  • ride on the road, not the sidewalk 
  • use proper lighting when riding at night
  • use proper hand signalling when turning and stopping
  • remember to wear a helmet (it's the law for cyclists under the age of 18)

Wait there's more...

  • be predictable in traffic - ride in a straight line
  • ride at least 1 meter from the curb
  • give pedestrians the right of way
  • always shoulder check when turning
  • ride defensively

Choosing and Using the Correct Helmet
Wearing a helmet while bicycling is the law for children and youth under the age of 18 years. Helmet use is also recommended for many other recreational activities. Helmets do not prevent an injury event from happening. However, they do help protect your child's head and decrease the chance of a brain injury in the event of a fall or collision. Some helmets, such as bicycle helmets, are designed to protect the head for a single impact and should be replaced once the helmet has received any strong impact. There are also helmets designed to withstand more than one impact (multi-impact), as well as provide protection from sharp objects that may hit the head.

No No Yes

Children are often involved in more than one activity where a helmet is required or recommended; choosing the right helmet can be confusing. Below is a list of recommended helmets for a variety of recreational activities. The information was gathered from Health Canada, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), helmet manufacturers, Internet bicycle safety resource sites and sport retailers, and it is the best information available at this time. Currently, Canadian helmet standards exist for bicycle and hockey helmets only. Always ensure that the helmet you choose has been certified. You may see CSA, (Canadian), CPSC, Snell, ASTM (American) and CEN (European) insignias which identify that the helmet meets certification standards. Check with your local sporting goods store for more information on helmets available.

Fitting Tips
A helmet fits correctly when:

  • It sits squarely on the head with the front of the helmet low on the brow (within 2 finger widths of the eyebrows) to protect the forehead.
  • The padding gives firm, uniform pressure all around the head so that the skin on the forehead moves as the helmet is rotated from left to right and from front to back.
  • The front and rear straps form a "Y" just below and forward of the ears; and,
  • All straps are adjusted so there is no slack in the system when the chin strap is fastened.


This Summer, Swim SAFELY

Pools can provide hours of fun and relief from the hot, humid days of summer.
Follow these safety tips to ensure that you and your family stay safe.As the warm weather approaches, the Town would like to remind all residents about the hazards associated with swimming pools.  Each year, many children drown or are injured in both swimming and wading pool-related incidents.


2.1 This By-law applies to the territory of the Town of Hampstead.
2.2 This By-law applies to all exterior swimming pools:
a) whatever the depth of the water found therein, with respect to in-ground pools, and
b) to those having a depth of water of 60 cm (2 feet) or more in the case of above-ground pools.
This section also applies to hot tubs and spas.

7.1 A pool must be completely surrounded by a fence in accordance with the following provisions:
a. The fence may be situated on or near the lot lines or around the pool on the lot itself but in all cases, there must be a free area of 1.85 metres (6 feet) between the perimeter  of the water surface and the face of the fence;
b. The fence may not be less than 1.85metres (6 feet) high at all points as measured from the adjoining grade;
c. In the case of an above-ground pool, the fence may form an integral part of the structure of the pool; however, the combined height of the wall of the pool and the fence may    
not be lower than 1.85 metres (6 feet) nor higher than 2.4 metres (8 feet);
d. The fence of the pool must be designed in such a way that there are no protrusions or openings to facilitate climbing;
e. The openings between vertical stiles may not be greater than 10 cm (4 inches);
f. The fence of the pool must be designed in such a way that the space between the bottom of the fence and the ground or pool structure, in the case of an above-ground pool,
may not exceed 10 cm (4 inches);
g. Any gate providing access to a pool must be provided with a self-latching device situated on the interior side of the enclosure and at least 1.3 metres (4.3 feet) from the
ground. This latch must be locked with a key or a padlock when the pool is not under the direct supervision of an adult entrusted by the owner of the pool to undertake such

7.2 For the purpose of this By-law, a hedge or arrangement of trees does not constitute a fence or wall.

Follow these safety tips to ensure you and your family stay safe:


  • Children should be within arms’ reach, in and around the pool.
  • When supervising, make sure you are free from alcohol, drugs or distractions.
  • Check water depth before diving or jumping in.

Around the pool

  • Ensure the pool and deck area are free of clutter.
  • Learners should wear life jackets or personal flotation devices (PFD). Do not use inflatable toys as a substitute.
  • Keep safety equipment including a phone close by.

Other Tips

  • Never swim alone.
  • Take swimming lessons.
  • Learn CPR and First Aid.
  • Teach children water safety rules

Water Safety - Backyard Pools :
Backyard pools provide hours of fun and relief from the hot, humid days of summer.
Tragically they are the most common location for drowning or near drowning in our city!

  • Children who drowned usually gained easy access to the pool or were left unsupervised.
  • Young adults are often injured while diving or during horseplay in or around the pool.
  • Drowning in older adults in backyard pools are often associated with swimming alone.

Did you know?

  • "Pool" means a privately owned outdoor pool of water for swimming, bathing, wading or reflecting which is capable of retaining a water depth equal to or greater than 600 mm (24") at any point.
  • This includes pools, hot tubs, fish ponds and the inflatable pools capable of retaining a depth of water 24" or greater which require fencing (pool enclosure permit).
  • Be informed, many people purchase a pool before finding out the cost of the enclosure is much greater than the cost of the pool itself.
  • Fencing needs to be a minimum of 1.85 metres (6 feet) with a lockable self-closing, and self-latching device located at the top inside of gate.(see By-Law above)

Keep Safe
Ask about the Pool enclosure bylaw and pool enclosure permit before you buy your pool - call the Town of Hampstead at 514-369-8200.

  • Check your fence yearly to make sure it is in good condition.
  • Tell your pool users the rules.
  • Encourage pool users to get trained - learn to swim.
  • Always supervise children "Within Arms Reach".
  • No one should ever dive into an above ground pool.
  • Keep safety equipment, including a phone nearby.
  • Wait until activities in the pool are over before starting to serve alcohol.

Remember: Preventing Access To Your Pool Could Save A Life!


In-line Skating Safety

When you head for the pavement this summer... Plan-it Safe, and remember… Don't Use Your Brains for Brakes!

In-line skating is a fun recreational activity that can involve the entire family and its popularity has been climbing steadily since 1990. In-line skating offers an excellent cardiovascular workout and helps develop balance and coordination. In-line skates have three to five narrow wheels lined up in a row, which allows for a smooth and fast ride.

Approximately one million Canadians are in-line skating and the numbers continue to grow. As the number of people in-line skating has increased, so have the number of injuries resulting from this activity. Some of the most common in-line skating related injuries are broken arms and wrists. Skaters often try and break their fall by extending their arms to the front, side or behind them. Injuries to the head and legs also commonly occur. Most in-line skating injuries are preventable. The following tips will help you to keep safe while you get fit and have fun on your in-line skates.

Skating Tips

  • Take lessons to learn how to skate, stop and fall safely. 
  • Always wear protective gear every time you skate, including a helmet, elbow and kneepads, light gloves, and wrist guards. Wear long-sleeved shirts to prevent scrapes and cuts.
  • Begin skating with a five-minute, slow skate to warm up; you will be less likely to tear muscles.
  • First-time skaters should practice on a soft lawn or gym mat. Practice moving forwards, and ease into skating.
  • Choose good-quality skates that fit your feet properly. Using loose skates will not provide adequate ankle support and control.
  • Before using any trail, achieve a basic skating level, including the ability to turn, control speed, brake on a downhill, and recognize and avoid skating obstacles.
  • Be conscious of others: skaters, pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists frequently use the same areas. Use caution when skating around others.
  • Skate on the right side of sidewalks, bike paths and trails. Pass on the left as cars do, after yelling "passing on the left". Don't pass without warning.

It is dangerous to skate in the street.
In densely populated areas, be especially watchful for cars and other traffic when crossing roads and streets.
Look left-right-left and cross when it is safe to do so.

Remember that you must obey all traffic regulations.


Playground Safety

To enjoy a safe summer with your children, please note the guidelines for playground safety below:

Did you know…

  • Five to nine year-old children are those most frequently injured in playgrounds. Most of the injuries to children in this age group happen in playgrounds at schools and public parks.
  • Children get injured playing on both indoor and outdoor equipment. Injuries on home play space equipment are increasing.
  • It is dangerous for children to play on equipment designed for older or younger children. Playground equipment is designed for children of specific height and weight. Make sure children are using the appropriate equipment for their size.
  • Most falls occur from climbers, swings and slides. Other leading causes of playground injury are strangulation and crushing injuries.

When frequenting a park with your children always check the playground and the equipment before letting your child use them.

Why should you supervise your children at a playground?

Young children under the age of 5 are often injured because they are still developing their balancing and climbing skills, putting them at a greater risk for falls. You should stay close to your child and teach him/her how to play safely. For young children this means staying right beside your child/ren. Older children tend to be daredevils and often like to test their limits and take risks. Always keep an eye on your older child and what he/she may be doing.

Teaching Your Children About the Importance of Playground Safety
Safe playground equipment and adult supervision are extremely important, however children must know how to be safe and act responsibly at the playground.

Here are some general rules to teach your kids:

  • Never push or roughhouse while on jungle gyms, slides, seesaws, swings, and other equipment.
  • Use equipment properly — slide feet first, don't climb outside guardrails, no standing on swings sit down on them, keep away from moving swings and bottom of slides, hold onto railings, do not go up the slide ladder until the other person has gone down the slide and always wait your turn.
  • If your child likes to jump off equipment, always check to make sure no other children are in the way. When you jump, land on both feet with knees slightly bent.
  • Leave bikes, backpacks, and bags away from the park equipment and the area where you are playing so that no one trips over them.
  • Playground equipment should never be used if it is wet because moisture causes the surface to be slippery.
  • During the summertime, playground equipment can become uncomfortably or even dangerously hot, especially metal slides. So use good judgment — if the equipment feels hot to the touch, it's probably not safe or fun to play on.
  • Don't wear clothes with strings attached at the playground. Drawstrings, purses, and necklaces could get caught on equipment and accidentally strangle a child or yourself.
  • Always wear sunscreen when playing outside even on cloudy days so that you don't get sunburned.



Everyone is encouraged to have a great time throughout the winter months. As we all know, the colder weather usually make conditions unpredictable and thus we would like to remind all residents to please be prudent and take the necessary precautions to be safe on our Hampstead hills. The following tips are suggestions that will help you to enjoy the winter activities in a safer way and help to prevent injuries:
Adults should always supervise children while they are tobogganing

  • Always climb the hill along the sides to avoid collisions (please use the path created for this purpose)
  • Ensure that the hill is safe; no bald spots, no rocks, no ice
  • Please wear a fitted helmet while sledding; strongly suggested for all those under the age of 12
  • DO NOT slide down head first
  • Use a sled that can steer
  • Where warm, layered clothing to protect yourself from the cold and potential injuries.
  • Do not wear loose fitting items that can get pulled, stuck or grabbed.  Example a scarf that is not tucked in.