Keeping Children Safe In Cold Weather

February 2, 2011

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According to Punxsutawney Phil, we are supposed to have an early end to winter this year; however, I found myself questioning his judgment when I stepped outside this morning! Since staying home this week is not an option for most of us, here are a few reminders to keep your children safe in this winter weather.

What To Wear And When:

  • With infants, no layers of clothing should cover their face or mouth. Their small bodies are unable to regulate temperature as well as adults can, and they may not have the ability to remove clothing that is covering their airway.
  • During nap time and at night time, use a one-piece sleeper or sleep sack instead of loose blankets to keep your baby warm. Loose bedding is a major risk factor that contributes to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should dress your older babies and children in one more layer of clothing than you would wear in the same conditions.
  • Dress your children in multiple layers of clothing to keep them warm and dry. Don't forget hats, gloves, scarves and waterproof shoes/boots when you put on their jackets!
  • Limit outdoor exposure and play time to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Children are more vulnerable to becoming hypothermic than adults are, and need to be monitored closely in extreme weather conditions.

Keeping Your House Safe:

  • Do not leave children unattended in rooms where you are using fireplaces, heaters or other heat sources.
  • If you use a space heater, keep it at least 3 feet away from any materials than can catch on fire, like curtains and other furniture. Check electric heaters to make sure they are free of dust and debris, especially if you haven't used them for a while!
  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms outside of every bedroom and at least one carbon monoxide detector on every level of your house.
  • Create a fire escape plan with your children and practice it so that they will know what to do in case of a fire. As part of the plan, pick a "safe place" to meet outside if you have to evacuate.
  • Frightened children may try to hide from the fire/smoke or go looking for other family members. Stress to them that if there is a fire in the house, their biggest responsibility is to get out to your family's "safe place" and stay outside so that YOU can find THEM.

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