Snow, ice, and frigid temperatures are three common winter hazards. Making sure your children are prepared to handle these conditions is vital to keep them safe. Oftentimes, winter weather can come all at once. Check out our suggestions for preparing for snow and ice.

Be Mindful of Play Areas

Roads can be harder to see when there’s snow and ice present. Make sure children are still keeping a safe distance when playing outdoors. Also, they should be extra cautious when crossing the street. Cars will have a harder time stopping and they will have a harder time avoiding vehicles.

Children should not be left to play alone in cold conditions. Invite over a friend or provide supervision. When they are playing outdoors ensure they are near warm areas like your home in case they become cold or wet. In extremely frigid outdoor temperatures, make sure they stay indoors.

Wear Sunscreen

Sunburn is still likely in wintertime. In fact, sunburns can occur in the most unlikely of exposed areas due to the reflection of the sun off snow and ice.

Know the Danger Signs

The dangers of cold conditions should not go unnoticed. Frostbite and hypothermia are incredibly dangerous.

Frostbite happens most frequently on the fingers, toes, cheeks, nose, and ears. Frostbite can be identified by the area becoming very cold and turning a white or yellow-gray color. In this case, take your child to the nearest emergency room for treatment.

Before frostbite can fully set in, you may be able to see the early stages, also known as frostnip. Frostnip is when the areas are red and numb or tingly. If you see signs of frostnip, bring your child inside, remove any wet articles and submerge the afflicted areas in warm (not hot) water for 20-30 minutes.

Hypothermia occurs when a person’s temperature drops below normal because of exposure to the cold. Hypothermia can take hold in children quicker than in adults. Symptoms of hypothermia include uncharacteristic clumsiness, shivering, lethargy, and in more severe cases, slurred speech. If your child is suffering from hypothermia bring them indoors, wrap them in blankets, and call 911.

Check on Children Playing Outdoors for Warmth

Children often get distracted when they’re having a lot of fun. They will continue to play even when they are cold and wet. Check on them frequently or call them indoors for a warm drink. Dressing children in layers can also help give them access to warm clothing as they need it so they can avoid sweating and getting too cold.

Wear the Proper Gear

Prepare your children for the wet snow and cold conditions. Boots with good grip are needed for icy conditions to keep from falling. And waterproof boots, jackets, hats, and gloves are essential for children who love playing in the snow.

Accessories like scarves and gloves are great for keeping kids warm. When purchasing cold weather gear, remember wool is warmer than cotton.

Infants need more bundling gear since they don’t move as much as older kids and therefore can’t generate heat the same way.

Stay Hydrated

In cold dry conditions, people will lose more moisture just by breathing. Offer your children plenty of water. You can provide warm drinks and soups for greater appeal.

Playing in the snow is a great deal of fun. Preparing your children for the snow and ice will keep them safe and allow them to enjoy the winter season.

Sources: Save the Children, Nemours Kids Health, Healthy Children, Caring for Kids