Health and Safety

Winter Safety and Kids

By Rachel Olis

At this time of year, even in Alabama, we can expect some low temperatures. Cold weather does not necessarily mean you need to keep your kids cooped up inside- However; it’s important to remember some general safety tips this winter, regardless of whether your family stays inside or ventures out.

Many kids don’t like the idea of wearing a heavy coat and may claim they aren’t cold. According to Christina Fettig, pediatrician at Children’s of Alabama, children are just as susceptible to the cold as adults are.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends several layers,” she said. “The best rule of thumbs is to dress your children in one more layer than we as adults wear.”

Help keep your kids safe indoors and outdoors with these tips:

  • “Just like in the summer, dehydration can still occur,” Fettig said. She recommends drinking water as the best way to keep kids hydrated while outdoors.
  •  Instead of heavy materials, choose lighter, cold-weather fabrics like polyester fleece that are easier for children to move around in. This allows kids to take off layers when they get warm and add additional layers when they get cold.
  •  Make sure kids cover exposed areas like hands, ears and heads.
  •  Snow can reflect up to 85 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, so sunscreen is still important even in winter weather.
  •  Fettig advises being cautious with space heaters in the home.“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show carbon monoxide poisoning is highest in January.” She added that only one-third of homes have a carbon monoxide detector.
  •   To keep children’s skin from drying out from the cold air, Fettig advises not bathing young children every day. “We recommend if a child is less than one, don’t bathe them more than 2-3 times per week.” For older children who spend more time outdoors, she recommends a gentle, perfume-free moisturizer.
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