The world has tilted again, spinning us to short days and cold weather. Maybe you already got some snow, maybe just some frost, or maybe you’re sitting somewhere warm, laughing at us fools suffering the elements.

Wherever you are, tis the season for cold weather, so lets go over some points to stay prepared.

 

Dress for the Cold

Cold weather can be fun, but since little kids are prone to being kids, we have to help them prepare for the worst.

 

  • Dress older babies and young children in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.
  •  Dress infants and children warmly for outdoor activities.  Several thin layers will keep them dry and warm. Always remember warm boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat.
  • When riding in the car, babies and children should wear thin, snug layers rather than thick, bulky coats or snowsuits. See Winter Car Seat Safety Tips for additional information.

Playing Outside- Hypothermia and Frostbite

Children are prone to being children, which means they aren’t always going to know the warning signs when fun stops and it’s time to make sure everyone is safe.

Below we talk about identifying the warning signs of hypothermia and frostbite, both of which can happen when we play outside when its cold and wet. The best way to prevent the worst? Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play.  Having children come inside periodically to warm up is the best way to prevent frostbite and hypothermia, especially when hot chocolate or tea is involved. 

Hypothermia

  • Hypothermia develops when a child’s temperature falls below normal due to exposure to colder temperatures. It often happens when a child is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing, or when clothes get wet. It can occur more quickly in children than in adults.
  • As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become tired and clumsy.  Speech may become slurred and the body becomes cold.
  • If you suspect your child is hypothermic, call 911 at once. Until help arrives, take the child indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him in blankets or warm clothes.

 

Frostbite
  • Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen.  This tends to occur on fingers, toes, ears, and nose.  They may become pale, gray and blistered. At the same time, the child may complain that his/her skin burns or has become numb.
  • If frostbite occurs, bring the child indoors and place the frostbitten parts of her body in warm (not hot) water.  104° Fahrenheit (about the temperature of most hot tubs) is recommended. Warm washcloths may be applied to frostbitten nose, ears and lips.
  • DO NOT RUB the frozen areas!
  • After a few minutes, dry and cover the child with clothing or blankets. Give them something warm to drink.
  • If the numbness continues for more than a few minutes, call your doctor.

 

Buckle Up 

If you read our fluffing problem article, you know that puffy gear and seat belts don’t mix, even for grown-ups.

If you haven’t read it, here’s a quick summary:

  •  Puffy coats leave space between your body and the seat belt, making you travel faster before the seat belt stops you. The longer it takes, the worse the damage.
  • Take the coat off before harnessing your child, placing it on their body after they’re buckled in, or use a blanket to keep them warm during the transition.
  • For infants, you can use a carrier cover (if it’s over the harness) or a blanket.
  • Make sure to keep your infant carrier stored indoors overnight to keep baby warm when you’re ready to go.

If you want another resource on the topic, we like this one from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

 

Prepare for the Storm

Being prepared is more than just a good coat, it’s about actively planning for the worst, even before things get bad. Read on to know what key points to consider to keep your family safe:

 

  • Learn about your local storm risks, and how the weather will impact your area.
  • Get any tools you need BEFORE the storm hits.
  • Keep the gas tank full in case of an emergency.
  • Have an emergency plan, and go over it with all members of your family.

Winter Storms: During

The storm has hit, and the time for preparedness has passed. Make sure to:

  • Listen to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, a portable battery-powered radio (or television), or a smartphone for updated emergency information.
  • Stay indoors, dress warmly, and have extra blankets for during the storm.
  • Snacks. Yes, snacks. Food and fluids provides the body with energy for producing its own heat, which is especially important for children.
  • If you lose electricity, do NOT use a generator indoors or in an enclosed space.
  • Conserve fuel, don’t go anywhere unless its an emergency.

Winter Storms: After

Even after the worst has passed, your chances of getting in trouble are high. Make sure to:

  • Continue listening to local radio or television stations (NOAA Weather Radio) for updated information and instructions.
  • Help neighbors who may require special assistance.
  • Avoid driving and other travel until conditions have improved. Just because it’s not snowing doesn’t mean its good to drive.
  • Avoid overexertion.
  • Follow forecasts and be prepared when venturing outside. Some storms come in waves, be aware it might not be over.

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