Winter is a season that brings snowfall and freezing temperature and in both polar and temperate climates, winter is the coldest season of the year. There are also many fun activities during the cold weather called winter, some are: Have an epic snowball fight, build a snowman, Go sledding, catch snowflakes on your tongue, make a snow angel, Hit the slopes, go snowshoeing, Watch the snow falling, among many others.
Children on the other hand would like to perform one or more of the fun activities listed above, that is why it is important to read and practice the winter safety tips that I will be discussing below. These tips are not just practicable but will help prevent any illness that comes with extreme cold.
Here Are 10 Winter Safety Tips for Children:
1. Wear Clothes In Several Layers
The first tip I’d recommend is wearing them clothes in several layers. Children and Babies needs to wear more layers of clothes during winter than they will normally wear because they tend to get cold easily compared to adults. Make sure to cover them properly by covering their, head, chest, neck and hands. It is critical to choose clothing and accessories that will keep you and your children warm during fun activities. Children should dress warmly and wear hats, scarves, and gloves. Children lose body heat more quickly than adults.
2. Prevent Accidents
It is important to keep your kids safe from accident by supervising them when they play outside the snow. This is because Snowbanks can reduce visibility, and ice on the roads makes braking difficult. Children should not play outside by themselves. Create a team approach with one or more friends and ask them to look out for one another. Outside, children under the age of eight should always be supervised.
3. Cleaning And Sanitazing
During winter children tends to spend most of their time indoors, they will get infected or get ill even their environment is not properly clean and sanitized. Make sure that your kid’s clothes, toys, socks are properly clean, dried and stored when not in use. In this way you are helping control the risk of them getting infected by fungus infections which is be encouraged by cold.
4. Eating Healthy
Make sure your child eats nutritious foods. Include in their diet all of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are required for the body’s defence mechanisms. Give your child vitamin-C-rich foods like oranges, tomatoes, melons, papayas, and green leafy vegetables, as well as water-rich foods like onions, broccoli, cauliflower, mint, ginger, and other herbs and spices. Breakfast should include nutritious dried fruits such as cashews, almonds, and pistachios. Honey should be given to children every night to boost their immunity. Snacking before a cold helps the body burn more calories to keep warm.
5. Use Suncreen
Even in the wintertime, children and adults can get sunburned. Because the sun can reflect off snow, apply sunscreen to exposed areas. Even though it may seem strange in the winter, you must apply sunscreen when playing indoors. Snowflakes reflect sunlight back at you. Cover your face with sunscreen and apply a small amount of sunscreen-infused lip balm to your lips, even if it’s cloudy outside.
6. Good Sleeping Routine
Sleep has a significant impact on the performance of our immune system. Strong variations in your child’s physical and mental activities, as well as their heart rate, body temperature, and immunological parameters such as leukocyte and cytokine production, are all affected by the typical sleep-wake cycle. A lack of quality sleep causes an inflammatory state. Sleep deprivation can weaken the immune system, making the child more susceptible to infection from bacteria and viruses.
When playing in the cold and dry air, it is easy to forget to bring water. Even if you do not sweat, you will be dehydrated. Encourage kids to drink plenty of water before, during, and after they play. Children are also more likely than adults to become dehydrated in cold temperatures. Allow your child to drink plenty of warm fluids, such as warm water, warm turmeric (haldi) milk, coffee, and tea.
8. Encourage Indoor Activities
If it’s a cold and windy day, and you’re feeling uneasy outside, it’s best to keep your children inside. Extreme cold weather can prevent children from playing outside. On cold winter days, encourage them to play indoor games with their friends. Instead of forcing children to sit in front of the TV all day, use brainpower, board games, crafts, puzzles, and other activities to get them excited about the activities. Children who stay at home and read books while drinking tea or coffee. Enjoying the nice weather is a wonderful feeling, but only if you and your children are healthy.
9. Reduce Intake Of Sugary Foods
Sugary foods that are bad for a child’s health are frequently served at holiday gatherings. Sugar consumption causes systemic inflammation in addition to suppressing the immune system. Children who eat a lot of sugar are more likely to get the flu, the common cold, and other illnesses. To help children’s immune systems, try to limit their sugar intake to one small treat per day.
10. Watch Out For Signs Of Illness
Frostbite symptoms include pale, grey, or blistered skin on the fingers, ears, nose, and toes. If you suspect your child has frostbite, bring him or her inside and immerse the affected area in warm (not hot) water. Shivering, slurred speech, and unusual clumsiness are all symptoms of hypothermia. If you suspect your child has hypothermia, dial 9-1-1 right away.
How To Dress Your Kids For Cold Weather
1. Winter Clothes Should Be Adjusted For Children’s Needs
Just like we discussed in the first tip for children’s winter safety above, Put one more layer of clothing on babies and children than an adult would in the same conditions. Why? Pockets of air between clothing layers actually aid in heat retention. Layering also allows children to remove a jacket or sweater while travelling, rather than having to choose between being overheated or freezing.
2. Do Not Over Layer
Over layering your child’s outerwear can actually make them colder. This is because wearing too many layers can cause your child to sweat, making their clothes wet and allowing the cold and wind to lower their temperature. In order not to over layer, we will discuss three major layering steps below:
This is the layer of clothes directly in contact to your child’s skin.
- Function- Wicks moisture
- Material – Wool or synthetic fabrics, such as polyester
- Fit- Snug
This is the layer of clothes directly on top the base layer.
- Function- Insulates
- Material – Wool, down, or fleece
- Fit- Close to the body without restraining movement.
This is the layer of clothes just after the middle layer and it is the last or outermost layer that the eyes see.
- Function- Protects your child from rain, snow, and wind.
- Material – A waterproof jacket or shell; outerwear that’s also breathable.
- Fit- Allows easy movement and has plenty of room for layers.
3. Wear Winter Accessories
For the safety of your children and newborns, don’t forget to put on warm boots, gloves or scarves, and hats. Even with socks on, the floor at home is extremely cold, so it is preferable to have shoes available for kids. When snowboarding, skiing, sledding, or playing ice hockey, kids should always wear helmets. Additionally, teach kids how to perform the activity safely to prevent injuries.
4. Store Extra Clothes
As you probably already know, it’s always a good idea to have extra clothing on hand for kids, but in the winter, extra clothing is crucial. One joyful splash in a puddle or one wet (or misplaced) mitten could ruin your entire day of fun and put your kids at risk for frostbite. Prepare an emergency kit for cold weather that includes extra gloves, socks, pants, and shirts.
5. Avoid Cotton Clothes
Cotton absorbs sweat even in cold and dry conditions. And wet cotton combined with cold weather result to very cold kids. Cotton should be avoided in the winter. With so many sporty and super-cute fleece options to choose from these days, ditching the cotton should be no problem.
Illnesses Caused By Too Much Cold
- Trench Foot
When your body is exposed to cold temperatures, it begins to lose heat faster than it can produce it. Long-term exposure to cold will deplete your body’s stored energy. As a result, hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, occurs. A low body temperature affects the brain, causing the victim to be unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may be unaware that it is occurring and unable to intervene.
- When a child’s temperature drops below normal due to exposure to colder temperatures, hypothermia develops. It frequently occurs when a child is playing outside in extremely cold weather without proper clothing or when clothing becomes wet. It can happen faster in children than in adults.
- The child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy as hypothermia sets in. In more severe cases, speech may become slurred and body temperature may drop.
- If you suspect your child is hypothermic, dial 911 immediately. Take the child inside until help arrives, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him in blankets or warm clothes.
Frostbite occurs when the skin and, in some cases, the tissue beneath it freeze. Frostbite is most likely to affect the fingers, toes, ears, and nose. Frostbitten skin may begin to hurt or feel as if it is burning before quickly becoming numb. It may turn white or pale grey, and blisters may form.
Safety Tips For Winter Sports And Activities
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 16 not operate snowmobiles and that children under the age of 6 never ride on snowmobiles.
- A snowmobile should not be used to pull a sled or skiers.
- Wear goggles and a motorcycle helmet approved for use on motorised vehicles.
- Travel at reasonable speeds.
- Never snowmobile by yourself or at night.
- Stay on designated trails and stay away from roads, water, railroads, and pedestrians.
- Keep sledders away from automobiles.
- While sledding, children should be supervised.
- Separate young children from older children.
- Instead of lying down head-first, sledding feet first or sitting up may prevent head injuries.
- Consider wearing a helmet while sledding with your child.
- Instead of snow discs or inner tubes, use steerable sleds.
- Sleds should be structurally sound and free of sharp edges and splinters, with a well-lubricated steering mechanism.
- Sled slopes should be free of obstacles such as trees or fences, covered in snow, not too steep (less than 30o slope), and end with a flat runoff.
- Sledding should be avoided in congested areas.
3. Ice Skating
- Allow your children to skate only on designated surfaces. To find out which areas have been approved, look for signs posted by local police or recreation departments, or call your local police department.
Advice your child to:
- Skate in the same direction as the rest of the crowd.
- Try not to dart across the ice.
- Never ice skate alone.
- While skating, do not chew gum or eat candy.
- Consider having your child wear a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads, especially if they are learning to skate.
Winter can be a time for lots of family fun, whether you go sledding, play in the snow, or just hang out at home. However, exposure to too much cold can cause illnesses like, Hypothermia, Frostbite, Trench Foot, and Chilblains. Ensure to practice several precautions as mentioned during this blog to prevent illness. You cannot enjoy winter if you are not healthy, practicing good hygiene!