The chill of winter is in the air, and that means there is one thing on your kids’ minds: snow.
Because it’s rare not to experience some snowfall in our area, it’s likely that your kids will be outdoors and having fun as soon as the first flake falls. The last thing your little ones need is an injury to put a damper on the winter weather.
Use these do’s and don’ts to keep outdoor safety top of mind—and your children safe—before the snow melts away:
• Do keep a close eye on your children when they play outside. Supervision is often the best form of prevention.
• Don’t let your children head outside on an empty stomach—their bodies will burn more calories than usual in the cold.
• Do dress your little ones in layers, preferably light, noncotton ones for the most warmth. If they get wet, they can remove the outer layers to keep the frigid water from seeping to their skin.
• Don’t forget to accessorize. Boots, mittens, and hats or beanies are must-have items for winter play outdoors.
• Do ditch clothes with drawstrings, which can become tangled in tree branches, caught on sleds or be tugged during play and cause injury. Use clothes with Velcro fasteners instead.
• Don’t forget the sunscreen. A snow-covered landscape is a giant reflective surface for the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
• Do get the lay of the land. Be sure you know where your children will be playing. Keep them away from ponds, streams, ditches, roads and fences. Only allow them to sled on slopes that are not too steep and are free of trees and other obstructions.
• Don’t skimp on safety gear for your children’s activity of choice, such as a hockey helmet for sledding or wrist guards and hip pads for skiing.
• Do mandate breaks in the action. Children may be reluctant to stop playing from time to time, but it’s important for them to come inside, warm up for a bit and hydrate.
• Don’t allow snowball fights. This rule may be a bummer, but it’s better than dealing with the injuries that could result from a direct hit to the eye.
With the proper precautions, your children can see out winter safely—and be ready to enjoy the spring fun to come.
Too Hot to Handle
Portable space heaters can be handy tools for warming certain rooms in your home, but if you have young children, use them with extreme caution. How can you help children and space heaters coexist safely? These factors are essential:
• Space—The No. 1 thing space heaters need is right there in the name. Health and safety experts recommend creating a three-foot, open buffer zone around the devices that should be a no-go zone for children.
• Solitude—Leave space heaters alone, not unattended. Place them in areas where they’re unlikely to be bumped, knocked, tipped or tripped over. Only use them when you’re in the room, and never allow your children to be alone with them.
• Stability—Always place space heaters on flat surfaces.