January can be a blustery cold month! Winter outdoor fun means keeping frostbite in mind. It is very important for kids to be warm and dry when they are playing outside.
- Dress them in layers so that they can remove them if they warm up.
- Waterproof gloves or mitts are a must for outdoor play. If you only have knitted mitts, keep an extra set handy, as they will get soaked through before your child finishes playing.
- Do not play outside for too long when the wind chill factor is -28° C or lower. According to Environment Canada, skin can get frostbitten after 10 to 30 minutes of exposure at this temperature. Strong winds will affect the body's ability to retain heat. These conditions can increase the risk of frostbite.
Here are a few things to watch for…
- Keep an eye on their earlobes, cheeks, and noses. Affected skin will turn a lighter colour than the usual skin tone and may feel either painful or numb. Wrap the frozen parts in warm hands. If your own fingers are affected, breathe on them or place them under your armpits or other warm parts of your body. Get indoors as soon as possible. Never apply snow (old wives tale) as it will cause further freezing. Don’t chafe the cold area as rubbing causes damage by moving ice crystals into your skin.
So, as long as kids keep their nose, ears, and fingers covered, being active outside will keep them warm and happy.