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Let It Snow! Keep Kids Safe in Winter Weather

With crisp air and cozy days by the fire, winter can be a wonderful time of year. But with those chilly temperatures come safety concerns. Here’s how to keep your kids happy and healthy during the colder months.

Bundle Them Up Right

Think layers—several thin ones will keep them warm and dry, plus it’s easier to quickly adjust if the temperature changes. Start with an inner layer that holds heat and not moisture, such as wool, silk, or polypropylene. Then top with an insulating layer like wool or fleece and an outer layer that’s resistant to water and wind. When dressing older babies and young children, put on one extra layer of clothing than an adult would be comfortable in. Keep extremities warm with mittens, waterproof boots (with two pairs of socks), a hat, plus a scarf or knit mask to cover the face and mouth.

Know When It’s Too Cold

There are some cold-related injuries that you should be familiar with, starting with hypothermia. Kids can get too cold faster than adults, especially if their clothes get wet. If you see a child shivering and acting clumsy, call 911. They may also slur their speech and become lethargic. While you’re waiting for help to arrive, take the child inside, wrap them in blankets, and swap any cold or wet clothes with warm and dry ones.

You should also be aware of the signs of frostbite. This is when the skin on extremities like fingers, toes, and noses becomes so cold that it freezes. The first indicator is redness and tingling. You can prevent this by not letting kids play in weather that’s too frigid and keeping them dry and bundled up. But if it does occur, bring them inside immediately and place the frostbitten parts of the body in warm water—about the same temperature as a hot tub, or around 104°. Be careful not to use water that’s too hot. Do not rub the area, and contact your doctor right away.

Remember the Sun

Sunscreen is probably top of your mind in the summer, but it’s still necessary in the winter. The sun’s rays reflecting off the snow can actually cause sunburn. When you’re outside, lather sunscreen on exposed parts of the body and give your child sunglasses to wear.

Stay Safe While Having Fun

Keep kids safe when sledding by insisting they sit with feet first on a hill that isn’t crowded, too steep (look for a slope less than 30°), covered in ice, or blocked by trees. When ice skating, tell your kids to always skate in the same direction as everyone else and don’t let them chew gum while on the ice. Make sure their skiing or snowboarding equipment fits properly. Helmets and goggles are a must for both activities. Kids grow fast, so don’t assume that the safety bindings or gloves that fit last year will still work this year.

 

© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.