Winter-proof Your Kid

As featured on Penn State Live, kids are particularly susceptible to the cold, suffering cold-related injuries without knowing what's happening. As cold weather sets in, it's time to think about how to keep your kids safe and warm.
Here's what to watch for and consider:
  • Frostnip, which precedes frostbite, turns skin white and numb. Especially watch noses, ears, fingers, and toes.
  • Infants and toddlers are especially at risk for frostnip and frostbite. Their heads are relatively large in comparison to their bodies so they lose more heat than older children.
  • Wind-chill temps below zero causes frostbite in minutes.
  • Treat frostnip and frostbite with warm water at about the same temp as a hot tub. A warm drink also helps. Doctors don’t recommend rubbing.
  • Watch for hypothermia. The symptoms are shivering, clumsiness and slurred speech. Get somewhere warm and go to the doctor for hypothermia.
  • Dress kids in layers of clothing that breathe (thermal underwear, a turtleneck shirt, sweater, or fleece pullover). Add a knitted ski hat (wool or polypropylene), scarf, mittens (warmer than gloves), warm socks, waterproof winter boots, and a water-resistant coat with sleeves that snug tight at the wrist.
  • If your plans include ice skating, skiing, snowboarding or sledding, consider a helmet and sunscreen. (Snow reflects the sun and kids get easily sunburned.)
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