Baby it’s cold outside!
Wow, I woke up to a beautiful sunny morning with every branch glistening with frost. My walk out to get the paper made me run back in for my cup of hot coffee, this made me want to think twice about a morning walk. What is it about being an adult? It seems that we start to develop a no tolerance for cold and snow. Kids don’t! I remember my Mom telling us growing up “Get outside and get the stink blown off!” It is true, fresh air fixes a multitude of problems. Kids and adults need that fresh air, and we need to allow that even in the winter. There is no reason NOT to let your children outside during the winter. There are few better memories than a day of snowman building, sledding, skating or a hike in the snow followed by hot chocolate. I remember the cute rosy cheeked look that all the kids sported after enjoying the winter day. Being outdoors also makes kids tired! Isn’t that what parents always want??? Natural light and fresh air is a great mood booster for parents too. Head out today….I think I just convinced myself to take that walk….
There are just a few guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
- Keeping your little one warm is all about layering. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) tells us to dress infants and young children warmly by putting one more layer of clothing on them than you would wear. Try thermal long underwear, turtlenecks and t-shirts, pants, sweater, coats, warm socks, boots, mittens and a hat. Approximately 50% of our body heat is lost from our head. Yes, tell your teen that a hat will really help keep them warm, or better yet, let them see for themselves!
- Mittens are a better choice than gloves. It is much easier to put mittens on little hands, and mittens allow more warm air to circulate around fingers. Try doubling up the mittens with a waterproof one on the outside.
- When you choose a coat for your little one, be sure that there are no loose drawstrings around the neck that could get caught. The puffy snow coat will NOT be appropriate for a car seat. Thin coats or no coat is the best choice for a car seat. With a sudden stop or accident, the puffy coat will collapse allowing your child to possibly be ejected from the car seat. Put a coat on backwards after you put your child in his/her seat, or warm the car up first and use just a blanket over your child.
- The combination of moisture and cold temperatures can really make a difference in keeping your child warm. If the snow is wet, be sure to keep checking your child’s snow clothes and keeping them dry. If your child is playing hard and perspiring, it might be smart to remove a layer of clothing and be sure that your child is layered with moisture wicking material close to the skin.
- Remind your child to come in for a quick warm-up. A good rule is about 30 minutes of play and then a warm up break.
- Putting your infant in a stroller with a wind block will help keep your child stay warmer.
- Wearing your young infant in a carrier will help by keeping your child close to you and will use your body heat to help keep your precious little one warm.
- Ice skating is fun, but let your kids skate only on approved surfaces. Call local police departments to find out what is approved. Be careful of lakes and ponds!
- Consider a helmet for the young and unsteady.
- Thick socks and proper fitting skates will help prevent sore feet!
- Keep sledders away from areas with cars.
- Young sledders should have adult supervision.
- Encourage children to sled feet first or sitting up. This may prevent head injuries.
- Try to keep the hills you choose tree free, without fences, and covered with snow…not ice.
- Teach your kids to walk up the hill away from sledders coming down.
- Children should be taught to ski or snowboard by a qualified instructor in a program for children.
- Never allow your child to ski or snowboard alone.
- Young children should always have adult supervision.
- Helmets are recommended. Set a good example for your child, wear one too.
- Make sure the equipment fits your child. Safety bindings for skis and snowboards. Snowboarders should wear gloves with built-in wrist guards. Eye protection or goggles are a good idea.
- Avoid slopes with trees and other obstacles. Pick slopes that fit the ability of your child and you!
- The AAP recommends that children under age 16 not operate snowmobiles and that children under age 6 not ride on snowmobiles.
- Do not use a snowmobile to pull a sled or skiers.
- Wear goggles and a helmet approved for use on motorized vehicles like motorcycles.
- Travel at safe speeds.
- Drivers should never use alcohol or other drugs before or during snowmobiling.
- Teach never to snowmobile alone or at night.
- Stay on marked trails, away from roads, water, railroad tracks and pedestrians.
- Remember the sun can still cause sunburn in the winter, especially if it is reflecting off snow. Protect your child’s skin with sunscreen.
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.