Winter brings bitter cold and heavy snowfall to many parts of the US. Winter conditions as well as winter colds and illnesses. Maintaining good health and safety requires a little more consideration throughout the colder months—especially for children.
Here are some quick tips to help keep your kids healthy all season long.
Stay warm, and wear layers.
Any time your kids leave the house, make sure they have enough clothing with them to stay comfortable. Layering a couple shirts with a winter jacket, hat and gloves gives them options no matter what the unpredictable weather conditions might be.
If your kids are involved in outdoor winter sports or enjoy playing outside for an extended period, insist that they come in every hour or so for a quick warm-up. Have hot chocolate and dry socks at the ready.
Be aware of early frostbite and hypothermia symptoms. Bright red skin, numbness, and uncontrollable shaking are all clear signs to take it inside for a while.
Get your flu shots.
An annual flu shot (for your kids and everyone else in the household able to be vaccinated) is one of the simplest things you can do to keep your kids safe throughout the cold months, and they can be found for free or at very low cost in many communities throughout the US. The flu vaccine is safe for children as young as six-months old.
This winter is also a great time to make sure your children are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Install a carbon monoxide detector.
Better yet, install a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your house. Put them near bedrooms, home offices, or any other rooms where people spend a large amount of time.
Follow all installation directions carefully and keep them at least 15 feet away from furnaces and heaters for accurate readings.
If you already have carbon monoxide detectors, test them and pop in some fresh batteries before winter; then do the same for your smoke alarms.
Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.
You read that right. This may sound more like someone wistfully thinking of summer than a winter safety tip, but sun exposure and hydration are easily overlooked in the winter.
Pure white snow reflects sun everywhere, which can actually exacerbate the sun’s ability to irritate and damage skin, and—because its so cold out—kids don’t even feel themselves getting sun (or wind) burned until the damage is already done.
Hydration is another issue that doesn’t disappear when summer does. If your kids don’t feel like drinking water or sports drinks when the weather is cold, try sending them with a thermos of warm tea or something else not too sugary.
Be prepared for icy roads.
Snow and ice can make driving conditions difficult, especially for less experienced drivers. Make sure your vehicle is in good winter condition by checking your battery, tire pressure, cooling system and wiper blades. Salt or de-ice your driveway and review winter driving safety tips so that you are prepared for potentially dangerous roads.
Winter is a beautiful and magical season, and when following these tips, it can also be a safe and healthy one.
For more information on winter safety, check out this article from HealthyChildren.org.
The information and content on our website should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment or advice from your doctor.