With the cold weather we have had this winter, it can be tempting to get bundled up on the couch and stay inside. However, it is important to remember that children benefit for outdoor physical activity, even in the winter. Here are some quick tips to keep you kids safe and healthy as they enjoy the cold weather.
Children, especially infants and toddlers, are more likely to suffer from low body temperature and develop hypothermia. Dressing your child in layers is a great way to add warmth during colder weather. A general rule to keep in mind is that a child should wear one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear – so if you are comfortable in long sleeves and a cardigan or sweater, consider adding a jacket over your child’s sweater.
Jackets are always a great option as they can be removed if the weather starts to warm up of if direct sunlight and physical activity result in increased body temperature.
Other items to add to you child’s wardrobe should include, mittens and/or glove, thicker socks, and hats and hoods. Scarves and drawstrings hoodies are not recommended due to potential strangulation hazards.
Also, keep a dry set of clothing at your child’s school or daycare incase their clothes become wet.
Cold weather presents unique hazards. If you live in an area with ice or snow, be sure you are aware of any potential slip and fall hazards. This is especially true for playground equipment.
If sledding, make sure your child is aware of and avoids hazards such as cars, trees, ponds, and ditches.
When playing outdoors, encourage you child to keep moving. This will help generate body heat. If your child displays any symptoms of hypothermia, move your activities back indoors immediately.
Just because it’s cold, that does not mean you can skip the sunscreen. Sunlight reflects off of the snow and ice, creating a risk of sunburn. Use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours.
Dehydration can increase your child’s risk of developing hypothermia. Have your kids drink plenty of fluids when playing (this is true for any weather). Also, provide your child plenty of health snack as they play. This can include trail mix, fruit, and bread.
Freezing temperatures and wind can result in hypothermia and even frostbit. Check weather forecasts when planning outdoor activities and check for updates throughout the day.