Winter Safety

Ah! The joys of winter: Snow and ice, tobogganing and skating, snow castles and skiing. For children of all ages winter truly is nature's wonderland. But as Martin Lesperance points out in his book, Kids For Keeps - Preventing Injuries to Children, despite all the fun the season has to offer, parents and cargivers must take precautions to keep children safe during the winter.

"Many of the precautions you should take when going outdoors an a sunny day apply to taking your child outdoors on wintery days -- the obvious difference is that cold days require appropriately warm clothing, such as hats, mittens, and boots," writes Lesperance. "Here are some additional tips for making winter outings safe:

  • Dress the children in layers.
  • If children are playing on snow, remember that it reflects light and the risk of sun burn is therefor increased. Use sunscreen an exposed skin, especially in the mountains.
  • If they are playing in the snow on bright days, children should wear appropriate eye protection: sunglasses or goggles with UV protection.
  • A good portion of body heat is lost through the top of the head: make sure your child wears a hat, toque, or hood.
  • Children should use footwear that keeps their feet warm and dry.
  • Children should wear gloves for snowboarding or other hand warming gloves if they are engaging in snow activities.
  • Monitor local temperatures and wind chill factors.
  • It is a good idea not to expose your children to cold for to lengthy a time. Know the signs of frostbite -- whitening of the skin on the nose,ears, and extremities -- and bring your child into a warm shelter before these signs appear! "

So bundle the kids up and have fun. After all the fresh air is good for both the body and soul.

Source: Kids for Keeps: Preventing Injury to Children, by Martin Lesperance. Kids for Keeps Ltd. Cochrane, Alberta.