Posted on December 15 2016
Wintertime is magical for little ones, with holiday celebrations, fun in the snow, and cuddling by the fire. It brings excitement, wonder, and unfortunately, safety concerns. When the temperatures drop, your child’s health and safety need a little extra attention. Here are some important winter safety tips to protect your little one when the thermometer takes a dive in the winter.
1. Sharing is Not Caring
You’ve instilled in your child’s brain that sharing is caring, but in the wintertime this is not the case. With circulated air in homes, schools, and daycares, cold and flu viruses start popping up like weeds in the winter. Colds are pretty common, and not as severe, but the flu and other viruses can quickly turn into more dangerous illnesses, like pneumonia. In the wintertime, sharing toys or food can pass germs easily from one child to another. Make sure you are washing your child’s hands frequently with soap and water or with safe hand-sanitizers.
2. Car Seats and Coats
It’s tempting to want to wrap your kid up in the warmest coat possible, but puffy coats are not the safest option when traveling. For a car seat to serve its purpose—maximum protection in a crash—the harness or seat belt needs to be as close and tight to your child as possible. A puffy coat or snowsuit, on average, adds about 4 inches of slack to a child’s car seat. What does that mean? Basically, the harness that is meant to protect your child has about 4 extra inches between it and their little body. A loose harness can be detrimental to their safety. At best, it means extra crash time on the child, and at worst it could mean ejection from the seat. Instead, put them in well-fitting fleece, a carseat poncho, thin and tight layers, and utilize heat.
3. Layer Up!
Most kids love to play outside—even when it’s freezing out there. When they insist on playing in snow and subzero temperatures, how can you keep them warm? The trick is the right number of layers. You don’t want to over-bundle them, as it has just as negative of an effect as too little layers. If they sweat, they are at risk of frostbite. A happy medium is best. Ensure their head, neck, and hands are covered, and dress them in one more layer than you would wear.
Hydration is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. With the cold, dry air in the winter, kids lose more water through their breath. Make sure to keep them drinking liquids—warm drinks and soup are excellent at this time of year.
5. Keep an Eye Out
Be sure to keep an eye out for any danger signs of frostbite or hypothermia.
Frostbite danger signs: pale, grey, or blistered skin on fingers, ears, nose, and toes.
What to do: bring child indoors and put affected area in warm water. Call your doctor if sensation does not return.
Hypothermia danger signs: shivering, slurred speech, clumsiness (unusual), lethargic, cold reddish skin.
What to do: Call 911 immediately.
With so many fun winter activities, the season can be quite magical for children. Best wishes for a safe, happy, and healthy winter!