HKQ Kids

Safe Snow Days

Few things in life are certain, but a long NEPA winter is practically a guarantee. There’s no doubt the kids will want to be out there playing around in the snow the first chance they get. When the snow (and the snow days) start piling up, be prepared for playing in wintry weather by keeping these tips in mind:

Dress for the occasion. Even if you’re just planning to go outside and run around or make a snowman, it’s better to overdress than underdress. Dress in layers to keep warm and dry, and don’t forget hats, boots, and gloves. Consider however many layers you wear to stay warm and comfortable and add an extra layer when dressing your kids.

Sunscreen is most often associated with a day at the beach, but the sun can be an issue during the winter too; it reflects off the snow, so you’re receiving UV rays from multiple angles. Consider applying sunscreen if there are plans to be outside for a prolonged amount of time.

Likewise, it’s still important to stay hydrated during the winter. As with any form of play or exercise, it’s best to drink plenty of water before/during/after every occasion.

When sledding, try to go for sleds that can be steered; those circular disc-type sleds and objects not intended for winter usage, like pool inner-tubes, aren’t as safe. Keep clear from cars and any areas that may see traffic; it also can’t hurt to wear a helmet. Going down feet first will lower the chance of a head injury.

When it comes to winter sports (i.e. ice hockey, snowboarding, skiing, etc.) wear the appropriate gear and equipment. Just like any other sport at any other time of year, protective padding, helmets, and guards go a long way in preventing injuries.

Understand signs of hypothermia and frostbite: two conditions that can afflict anyone, child or adult, when exposed to the winter elements. Hypothermia sets in when your body temperature falls dangerously lower than normal. Typically, this is caused by going outside without wearing the proper clothing, or by getting wet in frigid weather. Signs include shivering, drowsiness, confusion, and shortness of breath. In the event your child is experiencing hypothermia, call 911, and get him or her inside, remove any wet clothing, and get them dry and warm while waiting for help to arrive.

Frostbite occurs when skin and the tissue underneath freeze. It most commonly affects areas like fingers, toes, noses, and ears, and it can be caused by prolonged exposure to cold, windy weather, but also direct contact with extremely cold objects or water. Visual indicators of frostbite include discolored skin: red, blue, gray, or white in the affected areas. In the event of frostbite, your child will likely complain of numbness or a burning sensation. Treat frostbite by soaking the affected areas in warm water (not hot) and call your child’s doctor if numbness does not subside after a few minutes.

Many winter injuries can be prevented; keep these tips in mind and keep your winter wonderland safe and fun!

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