Winter Weather Safety

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.

The Itch of a biting insect: How do I protect my child from them?

With the hot wet days and nights of summer come the biting insects, especially in those early evening hours when eating outdoors and enjoying the gentle weather of a summer evening.

Children are at risk for multiple types of insect bites; biting flies,  mosquitoes, and ticks to name a few. The best way to protect your child from these pesky critters is to apply a repellent containing DEET.

According to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) DEET remains themost effective in repelling these biting insects. It can safely be applied by an adult to the children’s clothing and exposed skin.

Application of the product is best done in an open area. DO NOT spray this directly onto the child’s head and face, instead spray into the adult’s hand and rub onto the face/ears/neck avoiding contact with the eyes.  Follow directions on timing for re-application typically anywhere from 2 to 5 hours depending on the concentration of DEET in the repellant being used.

A common question heard can be: Is it safe for my young child?

The answer is simply:  Yes.  A repellent containing DEET of no more than 30% is safe for application to an infant older than 2 months of age when safely applied by a responsible adult.  Remember to always wash the child’s skin at the end of the day to remove the product to avoid irritation and wash their clothing.

Avoid use of scented lotions/fabric softeners/detergents as these can attract those pests more.  Dressing a child in floral prints and bright colors also can attract the pests.  It’s a good idea to protect the child’s head/ears by having them wear a hat with a wide brim.  Using mosquito netting around strollers and those portable cribs also can help protect the child from those pesky flying insects.   Avoiding stagnant water is a good idea as these are frequently breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

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Despite your best efforts your child ends up with an itchy bite, what next?

There are many over the counter products designed for this. Some good options to use are: a topical cream such as Calamine Lotion, Hydrocortisone Cream, or Benadryl Cream.  Another simple product is to mix baking soda and water into a paste and apply to the bite.

Remember if ever there is a question your Pediatrician is just a phone call away.  🙂

Enjoy your summer stay safe and protected!!

Daniel Moorman, MD