Ensuring your child stays healthy throughout winter is no small task. The following list is a summary of the American Academy of Pedatrics' Winter Health Safety Tips:
What to Wear
- Dress babies and children in several thin layers, gloves or mittens, a hat, and boots large enough to accommodate two pairs of warm socks.
- For however many layers an adult would wear in the weather, add one extra layer for babies and children.
- When riding in the car, babies and children should wear thin, snug layers rather than thick and bulky outwerwear.
- Use one-piece sleepers and wearable blankets only for an infant's sleeping arrangements. Blankets, quilts, and pillows may cause suffocation.
- If a blanket must be used to keep a sleeping infant warm, it should be thin and tucked under the crib mattress, reaching only as far as the baby's chest.
- Hypothermia is caused by a severe drop in body temperature caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. In children, hypothermia usually results from playing outdoors without proper dressing or if a child's clothes get wet.
- Symptoms of hypothermia involve shivering, lethargy, and clumsiness. Your child may even slur their speech.
- If you think your child is hypothermic, call 911 immediately, then remove wet clothing and wrap them in blankets or warm clothes.
- Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen, usually happening first in the fingers, toes, ears and nose. Skin becomes red and tingly, then gray and painful and finally white, cold and hard without pain. Blistering occurs after the skin thaws.
- Prevent frostbite by dressing in layers. All body parts should be well-covered. Bring children indoors immediately if clothing gets wet.
- If frostbite occurs, place the frostbitten parts of your child's body in warm water (104° Fahrenheit).
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help with pain as skin thaws.
- Do NOT rub the frozen areas.
- After a few minutes in warm water, dry and cover the child with clothing or blankets. Give him/her something warm to drink. If blistering occurs, seek medical attention immediately.
- To prevent winter nosebleeds, use a cold air humidifier in the child's room at night. Saline nose drops or petrolatum helps keep nasal tissues moist. If problem persists, contact physician.
- In an infant's first year, especially during winter, only bathe two or three times per week to avoid drying out their skin.
- Cold weather does not cause colds. These viruses are just typically more present during colder weather.
- Teach your child to handwash frequently and to sneeze or cough into the bend of their elbows to help prevent illness spreading