The holidays are upon us, the weather is changing, and the temperatures outside are falling. Although there is plenty of fun to be had, it’s also crucial to prepare yourself and your family in order to stay safe and avoid potential dangers of the season. With so many holidays to celebrate during the winter months, you won’t have to miss out on any fun family activities since you’ll be fully prepared with our tips to keep yourself and your family safe in the midst of the harsh winter months.
Necessary Winter Wear & Safety Tips for Outdoor Play
When snow hits the ground, most kids inevitably want to go out and play immediately, but dressing appropriately first is essential. Now is the time of year to bundle up your little ones in multiple layers of clothing when they are playing outdoors to ensure they’re staying both warm and dry. This includes:
- Winter coats and jackets designed to be waterproof
- Thick mittens or gloves
- Waterproof winter boots
- Snow pants
To accurately determine how many layers are adequate for your child, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests dressing babies and young children in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in cold conditions.
When the kids are dressed and ready, be sure to always keep a watchful eye on them, or ensure older children use a buddy system if venturing elsewhere. Now is the time of year that children are at a greater risk of developing hypothermia or frostbite from playing outdoors for prolonged periods. Prevention is simple:
- Set time limits when children are playing outdoors in less than ideal temperatures
- Remove any wet articles of clothing immediately upon coming indoors
- Bring young children inside occasionally throughout play to warm up and replace wet articles of clothing, such as gloves.
Keep Skin Healthy
It is much easier for skin to dry out during the holiday season due to the cold and dry weather, and the dryness could affect the inside your home, as well. To keep your child’s skin healthy and moisturized, use lotion daily and keep a humidifier running, especially for those children who are prone to nose bleeds. Fewer baths during the holiday season may stave off dry, cracked skin, especially for infants. Again, be sure to heavily moisturize after bath time. Additionally, even though it is winter, always remember to apply sunscreen to your children’s exposed skin when they are playing outdoors, even if it’s cloudy. Sunscreen application is important all year.
Safety Tips for Indoor Activities
With the holidays come lots of home cooked meals and meal prep. Children may want to be involved, but keep pot handles turned in and out of reach of tiny fingers. Ensure hot pots, pans, and bakeware are placed on countertops and again kept out of reach to avoid burns. Never leave an oven door cracked with small children around, and be sure that older children are aware of the dangers in the kitchen.
Of course, kids do not need to be left completely out of the kitchen. Allow children to engage in age-appropriate kitchen activities. For example, younger children may add ingredients to a bowl and stir, while older children may help with the more difficult tasks. Always maintain a watchful eye and never leave children alone in a kitchen, especially when the stove top or oven are in use. Also, keep sharp objects out of the reach of children, like kitchen knives or scissors.
Practice Good Hygiene
Spending most of our time indoors and around more people during the holidays, this is the time of year that we all run a greater risk of catching an illness. Establishing the importance of hand washing within the family is vital to prevent the spread of unwanted germs and viruses. Also keep your family updated on necessary vaccinations, such as the flu shot.
Practice Safe Driving & Be Prepared for Roadside Emergencies
The holiday season may mean lots of travel time for your family, and driving safely and being prepared for emergencies is crucial.
- Keep an emergency roadside kit in your car at all times
- Do not travel during weather advisories
- Do not text and drive
- Keep a watchful eye out for distracted drivers and pedestrians
- Stay cautious of icy conditions and unsafe travel conditions
Although we want to keep our little ones comfortably warm at all times, do not buckle them into car seats wearing bulky winter coats. Winter jackets are bulky and won’t allow children to be buckled safely in their car seats. If a car accident were to occur, a winter coat or snow suit will put a child at greater risk of injury due to coat compression or allowing the child to slip too easily out of the straps. Instead, lay a cozy blanket over your child when they are in the car to warm them up, or use their winter coat as a blanket. Most importantly, stay up-to-date on car seat safety when traveling with children.
Sleep Safe and Warm
It is always important to layer a children’s clothing when playing outdoors, but that is not necessarily the case for bed time. Adding blankets, pillows, and other loose bedding to a young child’s sleeping area has been associated with suffocation and is known to increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “sleep sacks,” commonly known as wearable blankets, and one-piece sleepers. If an added blanket is a must, then be sure the blanket is made with breathable, light fabric.
Avoid Fire Hazards, but Be Prepared
Fires in winter are more common due to the extra use of space heaters, candles, and of course, Christmas trees. If you do not already have them, install smoke alarms throughout your home and follow the recommended guidelines for safe use of any space heater. Keep little ones away from heaters and be sure older children are aware of the hazards that space heaters can cause. Remember to blow out candles before bedtime or prior to leaving the house, and be sure they are at a safe distance from flammable objects and out of the reach of children. If you have a real tree for Christmas, keep it adequately watered and ensure any lights strung on your tree are safe for use. Just in case of emergency, always have a fire escape plan and discuss with your family. It is also a good idea to practice a fire safety drill from time to time to ensure everyone knows what to do.
No one wants to be cooped up indoors until spring arrives, and remembering these tips is a great way to feel at ease when you’re enjoying this wonderful time of year with your family. Contact us for more information on tips to keep your family healthy and safe during the winter and holiday season.