While the winter offers a great opportunity to dress your little ones in all things fashionable and festive, it is important to be safe and warm. Below are some winter safety tips to keep you and your family protected this winter season.
Be cautious of tight hats/scarves.
While hats can keep your baby warm, be careful about hats that are too tight or that slip down and obstruct your baby’s vision. Scarves can also obstruct the baby’s neck and can be too tight, especially if worn in a car seat with little mobility.
“I would steer away from hats that are constricting for little ones,” says Samantha Probst, owner of Little Babet clothing store in Chagrin Falls. “Their heads are still really soft, so be cautious of hats with a pompom, for example. Just be careful that the hat is not super-restrictive and you don’t have it on for very long.”
Be mindful of big jackets.
Jackets can be tricky with car seats as well, so snuggling your child with blankets or putting blankets over the stroller is a great way to bundle up your little one. Layering clothing and being cautious of puffy jackets is a safer option.
Invest in boots with a flexible sole.
If your child is still learning to walk or stand, be sure to choose a boot with a flexible sole as their arches form. Consider buying a higher boot that won’t let the snow in, or a knit or sweater boot that is trendy and easy to walk in.
Be cautious of strings from hoodies.
Hoodies are a great way to keep warm in the winter. Be cautious of loose strings from hoodies, and make sure they are not obstructing your child’s neck.
Layer, layer, layer!
Layer up and prepare for the cold. Bundle up your child in lots of sweatshirts and a warm jacket. Wear gloves, scarves, hats, earmuffs, boots, fuzzy socks, and hand warmers when going outside. Suit up in your snowsuit when playing in the snow.
Be aware of the signs of frostbite.
Always be aware of how long you are outside.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of frostbite include cold skin and a prickling feeling, numbness, skin that looks red, white, bluish-white, grayish-yellow, or purplish, hard or waxy-looking skin, and joint and muscle stiffness. With frostbite, the skin gets very cold, then numb, then hard.
To treat frostbite, the Cleveland Clinic recommends soaking the area in warm water and wrapping it in gauze. Do not rub, use, or walk on frostbitten skin, as this can cause tissue damage.
Be careful on the roads.
Icy, snowy roads and earlier nightfall can create lots of problems when driving. To keep you and your loved ones safe, AAA recommends making sure your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread.
Do not go out if not necessary, and if you do need to leave your home, drive slowly. AAA recommends increasing your following distance to five to six seconds and do not tailgate. Do not power up hills, and do not stop going up a hill. Also, keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times, and avoid using “cruise control” when driving on any slippery surface.
Always keep a cold-weather kit in the car in case of emergencies. Community Health of Central Washington recommends having a blanket or sleeping bag, gloves, bottled water, a folding shovel, a first aid kit, a flashlight, a cell phone charger and extra batteries.
Watch for signs of hypothermia.
It’s important to be aware of the signs of hypothermia during the cold winter months. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, and slurred speech.
If any symptoms appear, the Mayo Clinic recommends going to a warm location, removing wet clothing, and warming the center of the body first. Get medical help as soon as possible.
Prepare your home.
Here are some tips on how to prepare your home, from Community Health of Central Washington: Check your heating systems and clean out chimneys and fireplaces. Make sure to check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
Keep an emergency kit in your home that includes flashlights, extra batteries, and a first-aid kit. If you lose power, your kit should also include food and water for three days for each family member, and warm clothing.