Kids Winter Safety
Just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean that we have to stay cooped up inside our homes. The piles of fresh, fluffy snow are simply begging to be tossed around and jumped in! Winter is a wonderful time of year for parents and children alike. However, the fun can quickly become ruined if a cold weather emergency strikes. By reading up about possible winter emergencies and how to prevent and treat them, parents can ensure that their children stay warm, happy, and safe during the cold months. Cold Weather Hazards The cold weather certainly does bring a good deal of hazards with it. Slips and falls are extremely common in winter when the snow hides hard objects, or when the sidewalks freeze over.
Cold Weather Hazards
The cold weather certainly does bring a good deal of hazards with it. Slips and falls are extremely common in winter when the snow hides hard objects, or when the sidewalks freeze over. Besides this, participating in winter sports and activities makes unprepared children susceptible to injuries of the neck, head, and chest. Winter weather also typically marks the season of colds and the flu. Although common beliefs attribute these illnesses to the cold temperatures, they are actually simply caused by people spending more time indoors with each other, where germs can easily be passed on.
Colds and the flu can cause much misery, but they can be avoided in two very simple ways. The first is to simply increase personal hygiene and wash hands more often. The second tip is to limit forms of contact that encourage the spread of germs and bodily fluids. For example, don’t share drinks or cutlery, and cover your mouth with a tissue while coughing or sneezing.
Outside the house, limit physical injuries by supervising children at work or play. Don’t allow children who are too young to shovel snow. Give them a small toy shovel to play with as an alternative, to help them feel involved and included. Check on the children frequently while they play. Many kids get so excited that they don’t notice when their extremities start becoming numb. Bring them inside for a short break or check to see if mittens, socks, and hats are dry.
Dressing for the Cold
A major mistake that many parents make is dressing their children so warmly in winter that the kids suffer from overheating! Instead, use several layers to make it easier for the child to add or remove layers according to their needs. In general, wool is warmer for interior layers compared to cotton. Long underpants or leggings should be worn under the pants. Make sure that the outer layer of jacket and pants are made from a good waterproof material. Don’t forget important accessories like hats, scarves, and gloves. Although it is winter, people can still be affected by sunburn. Use sunscreen on any exposed skin, as well as lipbalm. Lastly, slip a small pack of tissues into their pockets so they can wipe runny noses!
Winter Sports Safety
When sending kids out to participate in winter sports, parents should make a note of the location and who is going with them. If it is slightly risky terrain (for example, mountains or a frozen pond) or near major streets, send a trusted adult or older sibling to watch over them. In case kids succumb to a serious injury, it is dangerous for them to be left so vulnerable alone outdoors. Double-check their sports equipment and safety features too. For those who enjoy snowmobiling, it is best for parents to go with their children. If a child is too young or uncertain about handling a snowmobile, let them ride with someone instead. Go over snowmobiling rules and safety guidelines with the kids in advance to ensure that they know what to do.
What to Do in an Emergency
In cold weather, children can get frostbite or frostnip quite easily. The best way to treat it is by first ensuring that the child is fully dried. Next, place them in warm water until they can report some feeling of sensation once again. Frostnip (numb, pale skin) occurs before frostbite (icy white to yellow-gray extremities). Children who show signs of frostbite should be rushed to a hospital at once. If they go out during cold weather, check that they are dressed in a way that will keep them warm as well as dry. In extreme weather like blizzards or very low temperatures, it is better to keep the kids indoors until it is safer to go out. Always keep an emergency kit in the car in case of unforeseen emergencies on the road. This kit should include some blankets, gloves and socks, a few candles and matches, energy bars, and a first aid kit.
Kids Winter Safety Resources