The winter months can seem to drag for a long time, but if you and your children get out and enjoy the snowy landscapes, it may fly by faster than you think. Winter can be a lot of fun, but it can also be dangerous if you’re unprepared for the cold temps and the slick surfaces. Here are some winter safety tips to keeping your children safe this winter at home, during outings, or at play:
Winter Safety:Infants and Small Children
Keeping Warm: When the temps begin to drop, it’s always important to keep your young child warm when going outside. Even if you are running errands and rushing from the parking lot to the store, make sure your infant or small child is wearing thin layers of clothing that will keep him or her warm and dry. Also make sure that your child has a hat, mittens, and warm boots. Experts recommend dressing infants and young children in one extra layer more than an adult would wear.
Another important thing to consider is to not overload your infant’s crib with blankets. Infants, when sleeping, should be dressed warm enough to not need a blanket. Putting blankets in your infant’s crib can greatly increase their chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Winter Play: While babies typically don’t spend a lot of time outside during the winter weather, toddlers and younger children like to play in the snow. When children are having fun, they are often unaware of how cold or wet they may be and as a result they are more vulnerable to getting hypothermia or frostbite. Pay attention to the forecast and limit your time outside to short spurts of time. Monitor the your young child’s play with older kids as they are more likely to be injured.
Car Safety: Driving in the ice and snow can be extremely stressful, even more so if you have young passengers in the car. Make sure to take bulky coats off of infants and young children so that their car seat or safety belt fits properly. Use the coat as a blanket if your car is chilly.
School Aged Children
Keeping Warm: The older your child becomes, it may be more difficult to keep track of mittens and hats as children often discard them when they get “too hot”. Stand your ground when it comes to your child wearing hats and mittens or gloves. Since children love to roll around in the snow, they’re likely to get wet; choose clothes that are water resistant. Additionally, select winter gear that is brightly colored or reflective so they are more likely to be seen.
Winter Play: Children like nothing more than to play outside, sled, skate, and ski. When sledding, do a quick scan of the sliding hill. If it looks too bumpy or icy, find another place to sled to avoid accidents or head injuries. When skiing or snowboarding, make sure your child knows to navigate the hill and is wearing appropriate safety gear such as helmets and protective eye wear.
For more winter safety tips, check out the helpful information from Pediatrics & Children’s Health.