Winter is here! Below are some Winter Safety Tips to help you and your family stay safe and healthy during the winter season.
Dress According to the Weather
Children and adults alike should be dressed according to the weather. Always be prepared with multiple layers of clothing to keep warm on those chilly days. Layers can be removed if the day is milder. Wearing hats, mittens, scarves, waterproof boots and other winter accessories are key to staying nice and cozy when playing outside. When the playtime is over, remove all wet clothing quickly to not get a chill!
When playing outside, young children should always be supervised by an adult. If the child is older, a buddy system with a good friend is also an option but continuously checking in is encouraged. Monitor to make sure children are staying warm and dry and of course, having fun!
Keep children away from roadsides and snow banks when playing. Snow plows, snow blowers and other drivers may not see you or your children because of the visual obstructions. Try finding a nice play area a good distance away from roadways. Don’t forget to take extra caution when crossing roads and always use the designated crosswalks. Snowy and frosty windows may create harder conditions for drivers to see while icy roads make stopping more difficult.
Sledding is a fun daytime activity but be sure to avoid sledding on hills that are overcrowded. Instead, find a shallow slope that is nowhere near roadways and free of any bodies of water (large or small), trees, fences or any other obstacles. Small children under 5 years old should never go down a hill alone. Sitting up or kneeling is the best way to use a sled as lying down can increase risk of injury.
Fun in the Snow
There are many fun activities to do in the snow, but one should always be cautious. A snowball fight is one of the more popular activities while playing in the snow, but a snowball should never be aimed at people, pets or cars to avoid causing an injury. Snowballs are especially dangerous if the snow is hard-packed, icy or have debris hidden within. Another activity is building forts or tunnels in the snow. This activity should always be supervised by an adult in case the snow collapses.
Colds are caused mainly by viruses that we are more commonly exposed to in the winter. Those viruses spread more easily when children are in school and in close contact with each other. Washing hands frequently with soap and water and covering mouths when sneezing or coughing will help reduce the spread of germs.
Skating is a fun past time for a family but it is best to skate on ice that is approved. If you do happen to be skating on a lake or pond, never skate alone. Ice that looks and seems strong may not be able to hold a child’s weight. Wear a helmet to avoid a head injury and skate with the flow of traffic on a rink.
Hydration, Breaks & Sunscreen
Drinking plenty of fluids is just as important in the cold weather as it is in hot weather. Staying hydrated helps the body maintain its temperature. Warm fluids are best but if they aren’t available, drink plenty of water. Take frequent breaks from the cold to let the body warm up and apply sunscreen, even on days that are cloudy to avoid damaging skin.
Winter is a wonderful time for a roaring fire in the fireplace. Ensure a screen is installed and only burn untreated wood. Children should be closely monitored if near a fireplace and discouraged from sitting too close. This should also apply to wood stoves and space heaters.
Monitor the Temperature
As temperatures drop, so does the risk of dangerous exposure. Limit time outside if the wind chill or temperature is -20°C. Keep toddlers indoors if it drops to -25°C. You can generally tell if a child is warm enough by how warm their hands are but also look for white patches on the hands, face or feet that might indicate frostbite.