4 Tips: Winter Weather Safety for Kids
If the weather outside is frightful, take extra precautions to help keep kids of all ages safe.
When kids spend time outside in cold temperatures, it’s critical to follow these four steps to help prevent hypothermia, snow burn and other winter health hazards.
Step 1: Slather on the Sunscreen
It may sound silly to say you need sunscreen in the winter, but sunburn can happen all year round. Both you and your children should cover any potentially exposed skin with a broadband sunscreen that protects from both ultraviolet-A and ultraviolet-B rays. Add ray-reflecting eyewear to the mix to protect little eyes.
Step 2: Layer Up
Dress children in easily removable layers when venturing outdoors in the winter. The base layer should be a moisture-wicking material that doesn’t let perspiration linger, and the outer layer should deflect wind and water.
Layering allows you to adjust children’s wardrobes during outdoor play, and if their clothes get wet, it won’t drive down their body temperature too quickly.
Don’t forget about their extremities. Make sure kids don gloves and boots. Proportionately, children’s heads make up more of their body surface than adults’ heads. That means a lot of body heat can be lost through the head, so make sure you outfit children in hats that fasten snugly but don’t choke them.
Step 3: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Cold, dry, winter air can lead to dehydration. Hydration is an important component of keeping kids well in the winter. You can mix up your child’s liquid intake with soups, stews and hot beverages.
Step 4: Check In
Even if your kids are not-so-little any more, it’s a good idea to check in with them periodically when they play outside in the winter. If you aren’t with them, know where they’ll be and how to reach each other.
Children don’t always realize that they are cold or that they’ve done too much. A good rule of thumb — if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for them. If you see any signs that they might be too cold, such as blistering, pale lips, shivering or slurring of speech, it’s time to head inside for a hot cocoa break.
With the right gear, a bit of forethought, and the occasional check of fingers, toes and noses, you can help your kids enjoy the outdoors this winter and stay well while doing it.