As Michiganders, we are no strangers to the cold. Extreme low temperatures, snow falls, icy sidewalks and bitter winds all come into play during the winter months. That’s why its important to teach our kids not only how to survive extreme weather conditions but to also protect themselves and their skin to enjoy winter weather too!
Here are ten winter safety tips for kids to keep them healthy and safe during the cold, winter months.
Surviving the Cold: Ten Winter Safety Tips for Kids
Stay Hydrated – Winter air is known to be quite dry and kids tend to lose their water through their breath. Be sure to keep them hydrated. Water is key but also fruit, salads, hot cocoa and warm soups are also great ideas.
Watch for Frostbite – Pale, grey skin are the first signs of frostbite. Then blisters come with extreme pain & lack of movement. Frostbite can happen quickly so be sure to keep all skin covered including fingers, toes, ears and noses. These are the smaller body parts we tend to take for granted. The cold air is extra tough on these small body parts and can affect them in a negative way, very quickly.
Watch for Hypothermia – If your child is showing signs of slurred speech, unsual clumsiness, and constant shivering, get them out of the cold right away and call 9-1-1 for help. These are all dangerous signs of hypothermia.
Keep Children Away from Streets – This is an obvious parenting rule but especially important during the winter. Cars and trucks aren’t able to stop as quickly on icy or snowy roads if a child runs out in front of them chasing a ball. Have them play in a neighborhood common area or a backyard instead that is far away from roads and highways.
Wear Layers – To avoid frostbite, be sure to dress your child in warm layers. This is especially a good idea if your child plans on spending alot of time outside sledding, skiing or playing in the snow. Make sure their head, neck, hands and toes are always covered.
Take Breaks Inside – Staying outside for long periods of time in the winter can lead to frostbite or hypothermia. Encourage the kids to come inside for a ten minute break to warm up. Offering cookies and warm milk or hot cocoa will do the trick!
Have Extra Clothes on Hand – If your kids are going skiing, sledding, or plan to play outside with friends, be sure to have an extra set of socks, snowpants, and gloves handy. Once their clothes get wet, they will get cold faster. Swap out wet clothes for dry clothes to help keep them warm and safe.
Avoid Ponds & Lakes Unless Supervised – If your kids want to play outside by themselves, be sure to remind them to stay away from ponds and lakes unless a parent is with them. Curious kids have a tendency to be adventurous and fearless in their decisions. Ponds and lakes that are not fully frozen are extremely dangerous and can be deadly. It’s best they know the hazards and the importance of staying away from large areas of water when playing outside.
Communicate – When kids reach a certain age, they tend to feel confident in their own plans and may not share with their parents where they tend to play or visit. Be sure to always know where your kids are going when heading outside. Knowing who they will be playing with and at who’s house is important too! Emergencies can happen anytime of course but handling emegrencies and injuries in extreme temperatures are extra dangerous and can be even more life-threatening.
Make Sure Clothes Fit – If the kids want to play outside during the winter, it’s important their winter clothes fit properly. If a jacket or sweater is too small, their belly could be exposed allowing snow or cold air in. Also, if a jacket is too small that means the arms of the jacket are too short leaving wrists exposed to cold temperatures and snow. If their snowpants are too small, that could mean there is a good chance legs and ankles are exposed. The key is, to make sure all skin is covered appropriately to protect it from the winter elements so be sure their clothes fit correctly before letting them enjoy outside play.