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Preventing Cold Weather Injuries

I vividly remember being a kid and turning on the news only to watch the school closures scroll across the bottom of the screen. That 6-letter word had such a huge impact on my childhood: C-L-O-S-E-D. That tiny but powerful word would mean hours upon hours of sledding, playing, and endless fun.

Worrying about snow and cold weather-related injuries, however, never crossed my mind as a kid.

This post will guide you through the frigid winter and will (hopefully) help prevent cold-weather related injuries for your children:

Bundle up and stay dry. It is essential to have your children dress in layers before stepping outside. I would also recommend waterproof and insulated boots as well as gloves/mittens, scarves, earmuffs, and hats. Once you come inside, change immediately out of wet clothing.

Stay off the roads when possible. Target and the mall can wait. Do not risk your life or put others in danger by driving unnecessarily in treacherous road conditions. There are some people that need to get to work, such as nurses, doctors, firefighters, and other various medical personnel, however, everyone else should stay at home! If you need to drive, be sure to check the weather and road conditions ahead of time. If you have teenage children, talk about avoidance of driving during snow, sleet, freezing rain, or if bad weather is in the forecast. Also, remember to always have an emergency car kit, which includes hand warmers, snacks, water bottles, and even a change of clothing or an extra jacket.

No bulky jackets. Throughout the winter season, avoid bulky and puffy jackets while in the car. For infants and toddlers, the extra “fluff” causes too much space between them and the harness or straps. When there is too much space, the car seat is unable to fully do its job, and children can be thrown from the seat in a car accident. The same goes for you, mom and dad- seatbelts may not work appropriately in the case of an accident if you are wearing a heavy, fluffy coat. Instead, bring blankets or put your child’s jacket on backwards on top of the straps.

Winter sports. Ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, sledding oh my! First off, wear a helmet! All of the listed activities can lead to head injuries, unfortunately, so the best way to protect yourself is wearing a helmet. When applicable, wrist guards and other protective equipment such as goggles can be beneficial. Don’t forget your sunglasses, too! Even though it is not hot out, the UV rays are still damaging to your eyes. I also recommend ALWAYS going with a friend when having fun in the snow. If you happen to injure yourself, you never want to be stranded. Remind yourself frequently to take drink-breaks and hydrate prior and after activities. You do not always feel thirsty in the cold weather, so sometimes a reminder is necessary!

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