Eight tips to keep your child safe and healthy this winter
Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 1:55 PM - While most adults dream about being on a sunny beach at this time of year, kids are ready to bundle up and jump into winter. Whether it's tobogganing or building a snowman, we have some tips to keep your kids healthy, warm and safe this upcoming season.
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- Dressing your child: Warm and comfortable garments are essential. While layering, start with a wool base to help mitigate moisture.
- Keep exposure to cold at a minimum: Infants and young children do not have the same tolerance for chilly temperatures that adults do. Small areas of the body such as hands, feet and ears must be protected to avoid frostbite. When wind chill values reach lower than minus 40, your skin can freeze within minutes. Signs of frost bite include: tingling, numbness, or itching of the skin. Red, white, bluish-white or grayish-yellow skin, with a hard or waxy look is also a common sign. Clumsiness due to joint or muscle stiffness can also occur.
- Winter proofing skin: After bathing and before going to bed, moisturize your child's face, lips, hands and feet. You can also apply sunscreen to protect your child's skin from harmful ultraviolet rays during the daytime.
- Avoid a cold: While it is a common myth that humans can catch a cold from the cold, chilly temperatures can in fact slow the body's ability to fight off a viral infection. Holiday gatherings tend to be the perfect place for a virus to spread. Teach your child to wash their hands frequently and cover their mouth (cough or sneeze into bend of elbow). It's also important to keep vaccinations current, including the flu shot.
- Promote healthy winter diet: To boost the body's defense mechanism, include all necessary vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in your child's diet. Food items rich in Vitamin C like citrus fruits, tomatoes, melons and leafy greens are a great way to maintain a healthy immune system.
- Keep your child hydrated: When dehydrated, you can become more susceptible to a cold or flu. Ensure your child drinks plenty of water throughout the day, especially before playtime.
- Encourage regular exercise: Shake off winter laziness and avoid seasonal depression by encouraging regular exercise during the winter. Activities such as ice skating, snowboarding, skiing and tobogganing are all fun and healthy.
- Prevent sledding or skiing/snowboarding injuries: Ensure your child maintains a safe distance from motor vehicles. The area should be clear of obstructions like trees or fences. Kids can prevent injury by wearing a helmet and sledding feet first or sitting up, instead of lying down head-first. Dressing in layers is also important. If your child begins to sweat, remove layers as needed, so they stay dry. Wet clothes can lead to hypothermia or frostbite.