Winter seems to come with a love-hate relationship. There’s just something about that first snow that gets us giddy (OK, yes I recognize that there are some hard-core winter haters out there who are never giddy about snow). But after that third, fourth, or heaven forbid fifth big snow we’re all praying for spring from our vitamin D deprived bodies.
But kids seem to be praying a different prayer when it comes to snow.
I don’t think I know a single child who hasn’t prayed for snow at some point. It means no school and a reason to get outside.
Cold weather and snow come with a slew of health hazards if we’re not careful, so here is a list of 10 tips from our very own nurses to help keep your kids as safe and healthy as possible this winter.
- Heat Loss. Infants lose heat much quicker than adults do, and they tend to lose it through their extremities meaning hats, gloves, socks/shoes are a necessity during these frigid days.
- Limit time outside. We all know that regardless of how bundled we are, our fingers and toes will get cold. Babies are no different. If you have to be outside with your baby, try to limit that time and bring in babies to warm-up.
- Think layers. It may be cold outside, but once you bring your baby inside they can heat up very quickly. If you’re able to remove layers once you get inside, it’ll make it easier on you AND baby. And always remember to wait to remove layers until your baby is inside.
- Don’t overdress. As much as we want to keep our babies warm, we don’t want to overheat them. A good rule of
thumb is, what do you need to have on to be comfortable outside? Use that as a baseline to dress your baby.
- It’s cold and flu season. If your baby has the sniffles, a low grade temperature, or any other flu-like symptom keep them home. You don’t want to infect other healthy children.
- Clothing hazards. Beware of scarves and hood strings as they can be a choking hazard to babies.
- Are you wet? Regardless of how many layers you may put on your child (especially if they’re playing in the snow), water can seep through. Teach your kids (if they’re old enough) to come inside and change if they get wet. If they’re not old enough to let you know, check them regularly to see if they need a dry change of clothes.
- The sun. We often forget about the sun during the winter months, but it’s still there and its rays can be just as harmful as a sunny summer day. Moral of the story? Remember babies under six months of age need to stay out of the sun regardless of the season and apply sunscreen when outside for extended periods of time for older children.
- Stay hydrated. During the winter months, the air is dryer and we need to make sure we’re staying hydrated. Don’t think that since it’s not sweltering out there that your baby doesn’t need lots of liquids.
- Frostbite. It’s important to know the warning signs for frostbite and take them seriously. The signs include pale, grey, or blistered skin on fingers, ears, nose, and toes. Check your children thoroughly and don’t take these symptoms lightly. They require immediate medical attention.