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Nurses' Corner

Winter brings many fun outdoor activities, but the cold weather, ice and snow can be dangerous to children and adults. Here are some winter safety tips to protect adults and children.

1. Be vigilant: Never allow children to play outside alone. Establish a buddy system with one or more of their friends. Children younger than eight years old should be well supervised. Check frequently to see if children are cold or wet. If they are, they should go indoors and remove any wet clothing or boots.
2. Dress children in layers: A good rule of thumb is that children should have on one more layer than adults. Always keep their heads, hands and feet covered. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Boots should be waterproof and be roomy enough for toes to wiggle around. Add a waterproof layer to help stay dry.
3. For children with disabilities: They may become colder faster because they are not moving around as much, or because they simply cannot articulate that they are cold and need to go inside.
4. Wear sunscreen: The sun is reflected off the snow and can cause a sunburn.
5. Teach safety: Demonstrate the proper way to sled, ice skate, snowboard, etc. Children should always wear a ski helmet while sledding, skiing or snowboarding. Sit up or kneel when sledding. Lying down increases the risk of head, spine and abdominal injuries.
6. Pack an emergency bag for your car: Keep extra blankets, clothing, hats and mittens in your vehicle. That way, if you get stranded due to bad weather or if the kids get wet, you will be prepared.