Tips for a Healthy & Safe Winter
Even when the weather turns cold, there is a still a lot of fun to be enjoyed outdoors for you and your family. However, just as summertime brings its own share of hazards to be cautious of, winter does as well, from sledding to ice skating to skiing. But these potential injuries can be navigated with some simple precautions.
The first step in ensuring outdoor safety in the winter is to dress properly. This is especially true for infants and young children, who should be dressed warmly for all outdoor activities. Several thin layers will keep them dry and warm, in addition to warm boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat. The rule of thumb for this age group is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.
When playing outside, be aware of the weather conditions and how they are affecting children. Hypothermia is a real concern that is often overlooked and it can affect children more quickly than adults. Hypothermia occurs when a person’s body temperature falls below normal due to exposure to colder temperatures. It often happens when children are playing outdoors in extremely cold conditions without wearing proper clothing or when clothes get wet. During play in the snow, regularly check your child’s clothes to ensure they are not soaked through. Additionally, be aware if the sun has shifted or the wind has picked up; you may need to add another layer of clothing to your child’s wardrobe if the temperature has fallen.
Many people believe that cold weather is a direct cause of colds or the flu each winter. This is not the case. However, the viruses that cause colds and flu tend to be more common in the winter when children are in school and are in closer contact with one another. Encourage frequent hand washing while also teaching your child to sneeze or cough into the bend of their elbow. Both may help reduce the spread of colds and flu. Also consider having everyone in your household receive the influenza vaccine each year. It can be given to children from six months of age and up.
By following these simple tips, you can create a holiday season of health and happiness for your family!