Winter Safety Tips for Parents
As the weather turns chilly, new dangers for kids are appearing; but these winter safety tips for children can help keep them safe through the coldest months of the year. Winter weather can be dangerous in several ways. The dropping temperatures and wind chills can create climatic hazards. Not every type of winter hazard is applicable to every child, but understanding the basic risks and how to minimize them can help parents protect their children from the ravages of winter.
The cold temperatures and biting winds are the most obvious hazards when children play in the snow. Children who are not prepared for winter climates can suffer frostbite, hypothermia and severe chills that can lead to illness, poor judgment and even permanent injury. To avoid the dangers of cold weather:
•Dress in multiple layers to play outside, including extra layers for legs, feet and hands.
•Always wear hats and gloves when playing outdoors in cold weather; the biggest proportions of body heat are lost through the head and hands.
•Limit the amount of time spent playing outdoors to safe intervals, and bring children inside periodically to warm up.
•Remove all wet clothing immediately and change to dry clothes if going back outdoors.
•Wear sunscreen on all exposed skin to guard against burns from bright sunlight and snow glare.
•Do not permit children to play outdoors in poor weather such as snowstorms, extreme cold or high winds.
•Wear brightly colored outer clothing that is easily seen from a distance.
•Do not dress children in winter wear with drawstrings - they can cut off circulation and make frostbite a greater threat, and loose drawstrings may present a strangulation hazard.
•Teach children to avoid playing near snowplow areas.
•Do not permit children to dig snow tunnels or forts that may collapse and bury them.
•Avoid snowball fights that can lead to injuries from dangerous projectiles.
•Keep roofs, gutters and awnings free from snow and icicle buildup that could collapse and injure a child. Similarly, do not permit children to pull icicles from the roof.
•Teach children never to touch or lick exposed metal (fences, flagpoles, etc.) in winter.
•Do not allow children to eat snow. It may contain pollutants, dirt, fecal matter or other contaminants, and the cold snow can chill a young child's body to dangerous levels.
•Regularly de-ice or sand sidewalks, driveways, patios and other areas where children may play.
One last tip, taking preventive action is your best defense against having to deal with extreme cold-weather conditions. Parents can also prepare the home and car in advance for winter emergencies, and by observing safety precautions during times of extremely cold weather, you can reduce the risk of weather-related health problems.