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.)