Even though Mother Nature hasn’t exactly caught on that the winter solstice is just around the corner, it is starting to get a little bit cooler these days. Winter’s a nice long season, though, so even if we’re a little bit behind schedule, we’ll see snowfall eventually. Looking ahead to the colder months, it’s time to start thinking about winter safety for your little ones.
Last year was pretty easy for us as parents. With my daughter just turning one last February, we didn’t spend too much time out in the snow. We had the obligatory snowsuit and boots, which did get used, but she was too young to beg us to make a snowman. This year, however, my daughter is old enough to be curious and want to explore. Safety tips are definitely going to come in handy for us this time around.
Get Bundled Up
That snowsuit and boots are a good place to start this year as well. Luckily, we’ve just gotten ours. Plus a fleecy hat and mittens set that’s just adorable (thank you, Baby Gap). These are all going to be very important, once that snow hits the ground.
Kids love to jump right into the white, fluffy stuff, so keeping them warm is safety tip numero uno. Try to give them lots of layers when they’re headed outside, says TLC Family: include thermal underwear, wool socks, turtlenecks, sweaters, sweatpants, and water-resistant snowsuits. Avoid scarves, which can be a strangulation hazard, and opt for neck gaiters instead. If you’re not sure how much to bundle your little one up, always give your child one more layer than you’re planning to wear yourself.
Winter Skin Care
So dry skin might not be dangerous per se, but keeping your child’s skin healthy in the winter is very important. It’s dry indoors and out, so always moisturize your child after a shower or bath. You should also use sunscreen on them before playing outside, as the snow can reflect the sun and cause burns on the slopes that are just as bad as on the beach.
When you're outside playing, watch your kids for signs of severe cold, or hypothermia. Shivering is usually the first indicator, so call it quits as soon as you notice this symptom. If this occurs, warm your child up indoors with moderate heat or lukewarm water. Going from a cold extreme to a hot one can cause tissue or nerve damage, so gradually warming up the cold or numbed area is much safer.
Even the little ones are going to want to try sledding, skiing, or skating if they see you and older kids doing these activities. If you have a toddler, it’s best to avoid these activities all together. It’s also wise to keep tots away from the slopes so they don’t cause collisions or, worse, sustain a collision. As your children grow, make sure a professional instructs them before trying something like skiing or snowboarding, and never let them go alone. Young ice skaters should wear the proper gear and tightly-laced skates to prevent injury. Get more tips for winter sports safety from Safe Kids.
Warming by the Fire
I don’t have a fireplace, but I do light candles in my home, so fire safety is still a concern for us. If you do have a fireplace and plan to keep warm by it this winter, use a firmly attached screen to keep little hands and fingers out of it. And never leave a child unattended near it, of course. As always, keep matches, lighters, and lit candles out of reach.
If you use space heaters in your home, be aware of the dangers these pose to small children. Keep them at least three feet away from flammable things like furniture, bedding, or curtains. Always turn off space heaters overnight and when you leave a room, as they can easily cause house fires. Of course, never leave your child with a space heater unattended.
Whether you play inside or out, there are lots of ways to have fun with your children this winter. Stay attentive and diligent, just as you already are all year long, and you’ll also have a nice, safe winter as well. Follow these helpful tips to survive all the snow that’s to come and it’ll be springtime before you know it.