Frigid temperatures transform the mid-Atlantic landscape into a dazzling snowy wonderland, creating opportunities for children to enjoy winter sports as well as spend more time indoors. Yet kids need extra protection from the cold because their judgment isn’t fully developed, and their small size makes them more likely to lose body heat quickly. Here are some winter weather safety tips to keep in mind.
1. Keep Infants in a Warm Room The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that infants younger than one year should never sleep in a cold room, because they are unable to generate enough body heat through shivering.
2. Dress in Layers Dress your children in several layers. Be sure they wear a neck scarf and warm gloves along with a cap that covers their ears.
3. Exercise Caution Using Space Heaters Don’t leave your children unattended near a space heater. Since it’s impossible to watch kids 24/7, wait until your young ones get older before you use these heating devices.
4. Wear Helmets During Sports Activities Have your children wear helmets when sledding, skiing or playing ice hockey. Make sure the helmets fit properly, and work with other neighborhood parents to enforce the “helmets on, or the fun’s over” rule.
5. Follow Safety Precautions When Ice-Skating Never allow your children to skate alone. They should skate only in designated areas. Be sure to check for cracks and holes in the ice, especially when the temperature creeps up.
6. Drink Plenty of Fluids In cold, dry temperatures, children lose more water through their breath. Keep them hydrated with soup and hot drinks.
7. Watch for Signs of Hypothermia Be on the alert for symptoms of hypothermia, which include unusual clumsiness, slurred speech and shivering. This condition is a medical emergency, so call 9-1-1 if you suspect it.
To learn more about how to protect your child in cold weather, see Pediatric Group Issues Winter Safety Tips for Kids and Parents.
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