“Snow day! Snow day!” Those are beautiful words to schoolage children! School has been cancelled because the weather and road conditions have made it impractical and even unsafe to hold classes. The kids see it as a free and unexpected vacation day, and one that should be filled
with as much outdoor activity as can possibly be squeezed in.
It’s up to parents to keep their kids safe during extremely cold weather — on all days, and not just snow days. Children are more susceptible to cold weather injuries and problems caused by cold weather than adults. And kids don’t always present symptoms of a cold weather problem in the same way that adults do.
For example, when an adult experiences hypothermia, he will exhibit signs like shivering, drowsiness, memory loss, confusion, clumsy hands, or slurred speech. But children when experiencing hypothermia might just seem to have less energy, and cold, bright-red skin.
The trick to avoiding hypothermia and frostbite is to dress warmly and dress in layers of clothing. Many layers provide much more protection than a single layer. During bitterly cold weather, adults as well as children should wear:
* A hat
* A scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
* Sleeves that are snug at the wrist
* Mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
* Water-resistant coat and boots
* Several layers of loose-fitting clothing
Some general bitterly cold weather safety tips are:
* When sledding, children should wear helmets — always!
* Children should be taught how to recognize icy patches and to avoid them.
* Nobody should go it alone. Always have a buddy system in place.
* Teach children what to do in case of a cold weather emergency. Provide them with cold weather survival skills.