There are many outdoor activities during the winter that are sure to be appealing to children. From sledding to skating, a winter wonderland can create many happy memories that you can treasure for years to come. However, there are also many weather conditions during the winter that can result in a dangerous environment for kids. Following the appropriate safety tips for children in the winter months can help to prevent many issues from occurring and ensure a healthy, happy winter for your kids.
Use the Buddy System
Children should never be allowed to play outside alone in the winter. Implement a buddy system and only allow children to play outside together when there are multiple children playing. Ensure that the children know to come get an adult if someone gets hurt while playing.
Check on Children Regularly
Even if you are using the buddy system, you should still periodically check on children that are playing outside in the cold. Ensure that they are still warm and dry. Pay special attention to their feet and hands and change any wet clothing immediately. A waterproof outer layer can go a long way toward improving the level of comfort for children. Ensure that children are supervised by an adult whenever they engage in an activity requiring supervision.
Enforce Break Time
Frostbite can set in when the skin is exposed to extremely cold temperatures for prolonged periods of time. For this reason, you should take care to enforce regular breaks, especially for younger children. Encourage them to come inside periodically to warm up and have some hot chocolate or another warm beverage. This can go a long way toward protecting their health when they want to play outside in the winter.
Limit your children’s outdoor playtime, especially when temperatures are incredibly cold. Set specific time limits for time spent outside playing in the winter. In addition, pay attention to the weather conditions outside before you let your children go play. Keep them inside during severe storms or extremely cold temperatures. Provide fun alternatives for remaining indoors. These can include everything from board games to holiday activities.
Educate your Children
Teach your children about how to play safely in the snow. Ensure that they know to stay away from snowplows and snowblowers. Teach them that it is important to play away from roads, fences, and water during the winter months. Ensure that they understand that visibility may be limited, and road conditions may be poor, so they need to be extremely careful around streets. Though it may seem silly, it is also important to tell them to never lick cold metal. Despite being a humorous scene in A Christmas Story, it is less amusing when it occurs in reality.
Many people overlook the importance of sunscreen during cold temperatures. Unfortunately, UV rays can still damage the skin, even in cloudy conditions. Ensure that your children wear sunscreen, especially on their face. Sunlight can reflect off of snow directly into the face, which can lead to painful sunburns. By using sunscreen, you can help minimize the possibility of damage occurring to your children’s skin.
This may seem like another obvious thing, but it is vital to bundle up children in multiple layers before allowing them to play outside. If your child gets too warm, they can take off one layer at a time. Implement a waterproof outer layer to minimize the possibility of the clothing becoming wet. Ensure that your child has a hat on with their ears covered, as this will protect them from frostbite, as well as prevent the loss of heat. The majority of body heat escapes through the head, so it is important to ensure that it is covered. Ensure that your child has mittens and warm, waterproof shoes.
Use Appropriate Gear
Though there are many exciting wintertime sports, it is incredibly important that your child use the appropriate equipment when participating in any of these sports. They should always wear helmets and effective protective gear. Ensure that all other gear, such as skates and skis, are the right size to prevent injuries from occurring. Check that all of this equipment is in good condition prior to use.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Consider preparing an emergency kit to keep inside of your car. This can serve multiple purposes, whether a child gets wet during an outing or the car becomes stranded in snow-covered roads. Pack extra blankets, sets of dry clothes, hats, mittens, and snacks into your emergency kit. This will help to protect both you and your children in case an emergency arises.
Watch for Signs of Hypothermia
Hypothermia can be incredibly dangerous, so it is vital to know the signs. If your child is exhibiting signs of hypothermia, you should contact your pediatrician immediately for medical treatment. Some common signs of hypothermia include shivering, shallow breathing, skin that is cold to the touch, loss of coordination, bright red skin, confusion, and pale, blistered skin. If the skin ever seems to be frozen, you need to take the steps to warm it back up. This is vital to protect your children from frostbite and hypothermia.
Focus on Hydration
Staying hydrated is often overlooked during the winter months. Drinking water is likely the last thing on your children’s minds when they want to play outside. The cold, dry air can lead to significant dehydration. Dehydration can be just as detrimental to the health during the winter as it is during the winter months. Ensure that your children are hydrated throughout the winter.
Winter is a magical time for multiple reasons. From excitement about the holidays to playing in the snow, there are many aspects that may cause your children to love the winter. Following these safety tips can significantly help to ensure that your children remain happy and healthy this winter season. Visit our blog at Corner Canyon Academy to learn more about keeping your kids safe this winter. Have a happy and safe holiday season!