With the fall here and ski season around the corner, parents have been shopping for information on whether ski swaps are good places to get equipment for their children who are just beginning to learn to ski. Buying ski equipment at a swap can be a slippery slope, so let me provide a few suggestions. Children who are learning to ski are at increased risk for lower leg fractures and sprains due to poorly-fitting equipment, especially the bindings and boots. Older ski bindings may be worn out and unable to protect the leg as well as they once used to, so be sure to check for wear and damage at the contact points between boot and binding. Never buy boots that are too large for your child, thinking that he or she will grow into them. This may cause the release system to not work properly, leading to unnecessary fractures and sprains. Also, when your child is sizing boots, make sure he or she wears the same kind of socks worn on the slopes, to ensure proper fit. And make sure the boots are made of hard material, unable to be dented or marked by pressing your fingernail into them. Once you have purchased the equipment, have a ski shop mechanic take a look at what you have purchased to make sure the used equipment doesnt need recalibration or maintenance before use on the slopes. You should continue to bring in the equipment for routine maintenance at the start of every ski season, and again every 30 days of use. Ski helmets should fit snugly and allow children to see peripherally and hear normally. Make sure goggles can fit securely over the helmet, and never wear a bike helmet in place of a ski helmet. More than 50% of childrens head injuries can be prevented on the slopes each year if ski helmets are worn, which isnt to say that helmets give children a license to ski faster or more recklessly. Its always important for everyone who hits the slopes to ski within his or her limits. Parents, make sure you model good behavior by always wearing a helmet yourself. If your child thinks helmets arent cool, let them customize it with stickers. Hopefully tips like this will allow you to glide safely through those winter ski swaps and find some bargain equipment that will keep your children safe on the snow.