11 Tips to Keeping Children Safe this Winter (Plus, Bonus Adult Tip)

Soon the temperatures are going to plummet.  This is a hard time for parents (I’m right there with ya!) as children need extra warmth and TLC. Young children are less likely to recognize when they are cold and more likely to lose body heat quickly due to their smaller size. Here are 11 tips for when the mercury dips:

Don’t lock up the sunscreen!

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Children (and adults, for that matter) can still get sunburn in the winter. Sun can reflect off the snow and cause harm. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to going out (even on overcast days) and reapply every 2 hours.

Layers, layers, layers

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Dressing in layers is always helpful, especially as you move in and out of your home/car/school/mall etc. Make sure your child’s head is covered as the head  can lose heat quickly in young people. Dress babies and young children in one more layer than an adult would feel comfortable in. However, in cars, children should wear thin snug layers instead of bulky snowsuits or jackets.

Clothing can hurt, sometimes

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Scarves, hood strings and drawstrings around the neck of clothing can strangle smaller children so use other clothing to keep them warm. Buttons, snaps, rhinestones and other choke-able embellishments should be avoided in the clothing for children under 3 years, or in anyone with increased risk of choking.

Sleep in peace

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Blankets, quilts, pillows, bumpers, sheepskins and other loose bedding should be kept out of an infant’s sleep arrangement because they are associated with accidental suffocation deaths and may contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It is better to use sleep clothing like one-piece sleepers or wearable blankets. If you must use a blanket over the sleep time clothes, to keep your sleeping baby warm and toasty, it should be thin and tucked under the crib mattress, reaching only as far as the baby’s chest, so that their face is less likely to become covered by bedding materials.

Check in on them frequently

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For kids, play time trumps all, sometimes even safety. Check them to make sure they are not cold or wet. Check for overheating as well. Make sure they are following all your safety rules during playtime. Winter sports have several equipment that may cause injuries if used inappropriately.

Fire safety

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Winter is prime time for household fires. In fact, the 2 most common days for fires in US homes are December 24th and 25th. Make sure you have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home and their batteries are working. Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that could burn, and turn them off when leaving the room or sleeping. Make a family fire escape plan and let kids on it as well.

Safety equipment counts

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Winter brings winter sports. Children should always wear helmets when snowboarding, skiing, sledding or playing ice hockey. Any sports equipment should be professionally fitted.

Keep them hydrated

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In the summer they sweat it out. In the winter they breathe it out. Children lose water in their breath in the dry winter months.  Keep them drinking plenty of fluids. Time to try those soups and warm drinks. Make sure they are not getting sugary or caffeinated drinks.

Don’t forget their rooms

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Many children suffer from minor nosebleeds in the winter. These are usually caused by dry nasal passages. Use a humidifier in their room (Cool mist Ultrasonic are the best kind). Saline nose drops or gel can help keep their nose moist.

Colds

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Exposure to cold does not cause colds or flu. However, the viruses that cause colds and flu tend to be more common in the winter. Frequent hand washing is important o prevent spread of germs. Teach your child to sneeze or cough into the bend of their elbow instead of their palm. Children 6 months of age and up should get the Flu shot!

Winter health hazards

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Frostbite appears as pale, grey or blistered skin on the fingers, ears, nose, and toes. If you think your child has frostbite bring the child indoors and put the affected area in warm (not hot) water or place warm washcloths. Signs of hypothermia are shivering, slurred speech, and unusual clumsiness. If you think your child has hypothermia call 9-1-1 or the emergency number in your area immediately. While waiting for help, take them indoors, remove any wet clothing and wrap them in warm blanket or clothes.

This winter, let your children be the force of nature they were always meant to be.

Stay warm. Stay safe

And, because you are so good, I will leave you with bonus tips for winter driving.

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