Winter can be a magical time for little ones between playing in the snow, watching icicles form and bundling up in their favorite winter gear. It can also be a time of potential risk if you have kids. There are some things that can hurt your kid when the mercury drops and understanding the dangers can help you keep your babies safe. Here are some top tips from the experts for keeping your precious children healthy and safe this winter.
1. Make Sure They Have All the Gear
Most of the time I wouldn’t say that your kids need every little thing, but when it comes to winter gear, they need it all for safety reasons. That means gloves, a hat, a coat, boots and warm layers to keep them dry. Anytime your little ones go outside, they need to be fully geared up so they don’t suffer frostbite or hypothermia. At the least, you don’t want them to be cold and crabby.
2. Do Not Load the Crib with Stuff
In the summer, your baby probably got by with a simple onesie or lightweight pair of jammies. Don’t be tempted to pile the crib with blankets and stuff now that the weather has gotten cold. This poses a risk of SIDS to a baby under age 1. Instead, dress your baby in a sleeper, which acts like a blanket, but won’t cover his face.
3. Don’t Stay outside for Too Long
Little bodies are more susceptible to the dangers of hypothermia so it is important to limit the amount of time you spend outdoors. Kids love sledding and having snowball fights, but cut those activities short and take a break inside to warm up every so often. You can always go back out if your kids want to.
4. Enforce the “Wear a Helmet” Rule
You always make your kid wear a helmet when he rides his bike, but you should also be doing the same for winter sports. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child wear a helmet for ice skating, sledding, skiing and snowboarding. This protects her head and brain from injury if she falls.
5. Cut Back on the Baths
I’m someone who bathes my children every night before bed. But, in the winter, pediatricians say that some kids suffer from really dry skin. Cutting back to a bath every other night can help. When you do fill the tub, make sure the water is warm, but not hot and that you use mild soaps and cleansers to further protect dry skin. If skin gets too dry, it can crack, which poses the risk of dangerous infections.
6. Get Your Child a Flu Shot
This is a hotly debated topic and I would never tell you which side you should stand on. However, most pediatricians do recommend that kids age 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. Little kids have to develop their immune system as they grow, which means that flu complications can be more dangerous to them than they would be to the average adult. If you have concerns about the flu vaccine, talk them over with your child’s doctor so you can make the right choice for your little one.
7. Practice Fire Safety
Fires are sometimes more common in the winter when people have their fireplace on, the holiday lights are blazing and space heaters are set up in the bedrooms. Be extra vigilant about fire safety during the cold months. Make a family plan should a fire occur. Check your smoke detectors regularly and make sure you are prepared in the event of a fire.
Of course, there are lots of things you can do to keep your kids safe, but these are the basics. What else would you add to the list?