This time of year, many Canadians will head outside to enjoy the final weeks of winter on the slopes, trails and rinks.

Skiing, skating, snowmobiling and tobogganing are some of our favourite winter activities. Unfortunately, they can sometimes lead to a trip to the emergency department (ED) and even to admission to the hospital.

Last year, skiing and snowboarding accidents resulted in approximately 1,700 hospitalizations across Canada, followed by snowmobiling (905-related hospitalizations) and hockey (720 related-hospitalizations.)

Canadians age 18 to 64 accounted for approximately 60% of sport and winter injury hospitalizations, with men generally more likely to be hospitalized than women.

Cause of sport and winter injury hospitalizations by sex and age, 2016–2017

Cause of injury Sex Age 5–17 Age 18–64 Age 65–84 Age 85+ Total

Note
In accordance with CIHI’s privacy policy, cells with counts of 1 to 4 are suppressed. These are represented by a dagger (†) in the table. To prevent deriving the suppressed value across the tabs, double cell suppression of another cell, regardless of its value (≥5), is made to suppress the next smallest cell where applicable. Suppressed cells are excluded from the totals.

Hockey Female 22 16 0 0

38

Male 238 425 19 0

682

Ice skates Female 34 173 37 244
Male 79 268 57 404
Ski/snowboard Female 121 416 74 611
Male 263 745 92 5 1,105
Snowmobile Female 13 138 21 0 172
Male 45 637 51 733
Tobogganing Female 21 14 0 0 35
Male 28 11 0 39

Be careful — it’s slippery out there!

Even if you’re not inclined to participate in winter sports, you could end up in the hospital just by venturing outdoors. Last year, falls on ice accounted for the vast majority of winter-related hospitalizations. According to our latest data, there were almost 9,000 reported hospitalizations for injuries sustained after falls on ice, with men and women affected almost equally.

CIHI’s own Lise Hogan experienced a fall after slipping on a walkway on a sunny and mild December day:

“Immediately after falling, I couldn’t put any weight on my foot, so I called an ambulance. After a long stay in the emergency department and X-rays, I learned that I had a broken spiral fracture of the fibula. Today, even after several physiotherapy appointments and despite the fact that I have always been active and fit, I am still experiencing pain and extreme swelling, which prevents mobility in my ankle, foot and toes. This experience has left me very cautious. No matter the weather outside, you can’t be too careful!”

Hospitalizations related to falls on ice, Canada, 2016–2017

Cause of injury Sex Age 0–4 Age 5–17 Age 18–64 Age 65–84 Age 85+ Total
Falls on ice Female 7 46 2,470 1,857 337 4,717
Male 6 78 2,146 1,606 311 4,147

 

Beyond winter, a look at some spring activities

Come April and May, playgrounds and bike paths will be busy once again.

CIHI data from 2016–2017 shows that cycling accidents remain a common concern across the country, with 4,268 hospitalizations last year, followed by playground accidents (2,184 hospitalizations).

Together, skateboard, scooter and rollerblades accounted for 1,129 hospitalizations.

Cause of injury N.L. P.E.I. N.S. N.B. Que. Ont. Man. Sask. Alta. B.C. Y.T. N.W.T. Nun. Unknown Total
Cycling 25 14 52 57 1,069 1,267 133 101 597 820 13 n/r 110 4,268
Playground 18 10 56 50 487 657 67 142 344 340 n/r 13 2,184
Rollerblades 43 44 5 32 14 0 0 n/r 0 138
Scooter 14 8 52 103 9 20 68 80 0 n/r 354
Skateboard 7 7 122 162 25 32 156 112 0 n/r 14 637

For more information on injury and trauma statistics, visit CIHI’s Quick Stats page.

Stay tuned for CIHI’s updated data on inpatient hospitalizations, surgeries, newborns, alternate level of care (ALC) and childbirth, to be released in spring 2019.