Baby It's Cold Outside!

How to Keep Your Kids Safe When It's Freezing Outside!

Winter in Toronto and the GTA has been expecially cold this year (think Polar Vortex), so when temperatures are extreme, children need extra attention to stay warm, safe, and healthy.

Environment Canada has issued another wind chill warning for the next few days so before heading outside, make sure that your kids are bundled up! Dress them in several thin layers to keep them dry and warm. Make sure their head, neck, and hands are covered. Dress babies and young children in one more layer than an adult would wear. Waterproof pants and jackets are great top layers because they don't let the wetness seep into the other clothing.

Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play and have children come inside periodically to warm up to help prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Limit exposure to as few as 20 minutes or less for little kids if it’s below freezing, and make sure they warm up and change into dry clothing if necessary when they come in.

Be aware of the signs of frostbite in kids. If your child complains of aching pain or numbness, most often to their extremities (hands, feet, or ears) or their skin feels hard/waxy with a white or pale grey colour, come inside immediately. Put the affected area in warm (not hot) water. Signs of hypothermia are shivering, slurred speech, and unusual clumsiness. If you think your child has hypothermia or frostbite, call 9-1-1 immediately. The skin should not be rubbed to prevent damage.

Here are other tips to keep kids safe in the Winter:

Coat kids’ faces with sunscreen, as sunlight, especially reflecting off snow, can cause sunburns.

Keep them hydrated. In drier Winter air kids lose more water through their breath. Keep them drinking and try giving them warm drinks and soup for extra appeal.

Beware of clothing hazards. Scarves and hood strings can pose a strangulation hazard in smaller children so use other clothing to keep them warm.

Winter can be a great time to get outside and have fun, but remember that kids respond differently to the elements than adults do. Parents need to take that into consideration before heading outdoors.

Enjoy the Winter and stay safe!

The information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes, nor should it be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. For medical advice, please consult your health care provider.

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