By Jennifer Chung
Winter is a fun time to play outdoors with the kids, but it's important to be aware of the temperature and wind chill to prevent hypothermia from setting in. Taking proper precautions for the colder weather is paramount to keeping your family healthy this year. Below you'll find 10 tips for keeping your kids safe this winter.
1. Be aware of wind chill. Young kids can safely be outdoors when it is 30 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Dress them in layers and make sure they wear hats and mittens. Feel their hands and feet every half hour to make sure they're not too cold if you're out for a stroller ride or playing at the park.
2. If blankets are needed for your infant at bedtime, tuck the sides in around the crib and only let the blanket come up as far as the baby's chest to avoid any possibility of suffocation.
3. Keep emergency blankets in the car to prepare for potential break downs in inclement weather. Keep hats, gloves and water in the trunk in case you have to wait to be rescued. Use body heat and snuggle to keep baby warm and prevent hypothermia from setting in.
4. Use a cold air humidifier to prevent your child from suffering from winter nosebleeds. Saline and petroleum jelly can also help keep the nasal tissues moist in cold arid climates.5. Protect your family from winter colds and flu by frequent hand washings and teaching kids to cough or sneeze into the bend of their arm. Spray disinfectant on door handles and counter tops where flu viruses are prone to breed.
6. If you live in a rural area where ice skating on lakes or ponds is a common activity, be sure to approve skating surfaces before allowing kids to venture out to skate or play. Teach kids to skate in the same direction as the rest of the group. Never allow your kids to skate alone on an outdoor surface. Wearing knee and elbow pads as well as a helmet may also be a good idea for novice skaters.
7. When sledding, keep kids away from motorized vehicles. Keep younger kids and older kids in separate areas so little ones don't get run over by a speeding sled. Check the sledding slope to make sure it is free of debris like tree stumps or boulders.
8. First time skiers and snowboarders should take lessons from a certified instructor before venturing out on the slopes for the first time. Ski in groups and make sure kids always have an adult to supervise. All young skiers should be required to wear a helmet and goggles. All gear should be fitted and suitable for kids. Use sunscreen when enjoying outdoor activities in the winter. The sun's rays are damaging at higher altitudes.
9. If you use space heaters in the winter keep them at least 3 feet away from anything that is flammable. Turn them off when going to sleep or leaving the room.
10. Make sure you have smoke detectors installed in each room with functional batteries. Test the alarms monthly. Install a carbon-monoxide detector in each bedroom for added safety. Get the furnace checked and cleaned on an annual basis.
Families that live in colder regions need to take extra precautions to keep kids safe in the winter months. Having a plan to make sure your home is winterized will help prevent tragedies from occurring in the event of a furnace malfunction. Be mindful of weather changes when kids are outdoors and bring them in to warm up with hot cocoa or apple cider frequently to prevent frost bite on little fingers and toes. Most of all enjoy your time outdoors and make fun family memories this winter!
ABOUT JENNIFER CHUNG
Jennifer Chung is a parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights: part parenting community, part online health record. Kinsights provides parents with a safe place to seek answers to their questions while also helping them track their child's health information. Organize your child's growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more. Connect with Kinsights at Kinsights.com to learn more and sign up. You also can follow them on Facebook/kinsights and Twitter (@kinsights).
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