Five Important Practices for Child Winter Safety
Responsibility for your child’s safety during the winter is nothing to take lightly. When we adults get cold outside, we usually go inside and warm up. We typically know what to do. Your child doesn’t know, and he or she will often want to keep playing beyond the appearance of warning signs. Here are five things you can make sure happen this winter to ensure your child’s safety.
1. Adults have heard over and over about dressing in layers.
Your child will need that reminder every time he or she goes out this winter. Dress them in several thin layers. Make sure they have warm boots, good gloves or mittens, and a warm hat. Most of our body heat is lost through the head, and our extremities get cold faster than the core part of the body. If you’re wrapping up a toddler, put on one more layer than you would for yourself. The younger the child, the less their body regulates temperature as well as you do.
2. Shed the heavy coat if riding in the car for a while.
If you’re just heading across town to Tip Top Child Care or going home, you may want to leave it on. Since you’re going to run the heat in the car and get it up to a temperature similar to that in your home, treat the car ride the same as you would if you were at home. If you’re walking in and then right back out, keep the coat on. If, like your parents may have said, you’re going to stay a while, take off that layer. When going on a car ride, again, dress in layers that can be gradually shed or put back on as needed along the ride. Keep the heavy coat handy for stepping back outside the vehicle.
3. To keep your kids warm at night in their bedrooms, consider not having lots of heavy blankets, pillows, and such surrounding them in their bed.
This is especially true for infants as these items have been known to be culprits in suffocation cases. Wrap up a baby in a wearable blanket or a onesie that will do the same job as a blanket. If you have to use a blanket, tuck it in around the mattress and make sure it isn’t overly loose anywhere.
4. Outdoor safety is a big deal in extreme heat or extreme cold, especially when it comes to kids.
If your child is playing outside and you’re watching out the window, keep a close eye. Layered clothing is especially critical here, not only because layers can be taken off and put back on, but also because it’s easier to deal with a wet layer than one huge damp coat. Bring them back inside every 15 minutes or so, check their clothing for wetness, and check their hands and feet. If hands or feet are numb to them, keep them in and follow the steps below. The symptoms of hypothermia are slurred/slowed speech, shivering, and lethargy. The signs of frostbite are gray or pale skin or worse, blisters. Your child might tell you they are numb and/or burning. These are huge warning signs to pay attention.
5. Hypothermia and frostbite are to be taken seriously, especially in children.
If the child seems to be hypothermic, call 911 at once. Take off their wet clothing and dress them back into warm clothes or cover them with a couple of warm blankets. Also, remember that wet gloves/mittens lead to frostbite, which leads to possible physical damage. Warm up hands by running some mild, not hot, water into a sink or bowl. Make sure it is less warm than you would prefer for a tub bath. It would not be good to burn the child’s hands while trying to get them warmed back up. You can also apply a warm washcloth to ears, nose, or any other area that needs a warm up.
Keeping plenty of warm beverages like cocoa or tea handy for those intermittent breaks between winter play will keep your child’s body heat where it needs to be while also giving them essential carbohydrates to use as fuel. Tip Top Child Development Center ensures your child’s safety regardless of the season. We hope you find these practices helpful in making sure you, too, keep your child in tip top health.