Cold weather poses safety risks, especially for children. Follow these winter safety tips for kids to help your family safely enjoy indoor and outdoor activities.
Even in cold weather, children can play outside. But in winter, it can be difficult to help your kids stay active while also staying safe and healthy. These winter safety tips for kids will help your family dress warmly, avoid injuries, and get out to enjoy the season.
What children should wear in winter weather
When children are outside in winter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that they should wear:
- A hat
- A scarf that covers their neck and chin
- Sleeves that are snug at the wrist
- Mittens or gloves that cover their hands and fingers
- Coat and shoes that are water-resistant
- Layers of loose-fitting clothing
For young babies, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends dressing them in one layer more than you would dress yourself for the same conditions.
If kids become warm when playing outside in winter, they should remove only one layer of clothing at a time. They should always keep their ears covered in order to prevent frostbite. Immediately remove any wet clothing or shoes to prevent hypothermia.
The journal Paediatrics and Child Health warns that even if children are bundled up warmly, they should not stay out in the cold for extended periods of time, in extreme weather conditions such as snowstorms, or if the temperature is below -25°C. Check periodically to make sure your kids are warm and dry, and bring them inside if they are shivering, as this is one of the first signs that they are losing too much body heat.
Winter car seat safety
The AAP warns that you should never put babies in car seats while they are bundled up in bulky winter clothes. If you are ever in a car crash, the padding in these clothes will flatten out, making it easier for your child to slip through the harness. Instead, dress your child in thin layers, along with a hat, socks, and booties.
If you are worried about your baby staying warm, you can add a carseat cover or blanket over top of the fastened, tightened safety harness. Never put any layers underneath your baby or between your baby and the safety harness.
Indoor winter safety
Children’s bodies lose heat quickly, especially when they are infants. In the winter, this puts them at risk for hypothermia even when they are inside.
When indoors, kids should wear clothing that keeps them warm but does not make them sweat, such as long underwear, sweaters, and wool socks. Never put babies or children to sleep in cold rooms.
If you use an electric heater or wood stove to heat your home, it should be kept out of reach of babies and young children.
February 27, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN