Winter is here and kids are excited to get outside and play in the snow. Parents know that the cold temperatures can also bring potential dangers. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to keep your family safe this time of year.
Dress for the Weather:
-Dress children in layers when they go outside to help them stay warm and dry. This should include a hat, gloves or mittens, warm socks and waterproof boots. Make sure to remove and replace any wet clothes right away.
– Remember that sun sunscreen and sunglasses are important this time of year because the snow reflects the sun’s UV rays.
-Give your child a snack before they go outside. It’s also a good idea to have children come inside about once every hour to warm up and drink fluids.
Use Caution when Participating in Winter Sports:
-Children and teens should wear a properly fitted helmet for skiing, snowboarding and sledding.
-Avoid sledding on steep hills or areas where there are trees, large rocks, or busy streets nearby.
-The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that teens younger than 16 should not operate snowmobiles and children younger than 6 should not ride on them.
Be Aware of Signs of Danger:
-Signs of frostbite are pale, grey or blistered skin. Frostbite most commonly occurs on the ears, nose, fingers, and toes. If you think your child has frostbite, seek medical care.
-Signs of hypothermia are shivering, slurred speech, clumsiness and confusion. If you suspect your child has hypothermia, call 911 immediately.
Keep Your Family Safe Inside the Home:
-Make sure that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed and in working order on every level of the home and in all sleeping areas.
-Be careful around fires. Put a protective gate around the fireplace if there are small children in the house.
-Keep an emergency kit at home and in the car. Stock the kit with extra blankets and clothes, flashlights, batteries, matches, a first aid kit, bottled water, and non-perishable food.
Washing hands frequently and keeping your family’s immunizations up to date are also important ways to stay healthy this winter.