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Keeping Kids Warm, Dry and Safe in Cold Weather

Expert offers tips to prevent frostbite, exposure this winter

FRIDAY, Dec. 23, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- You winterize your house and car, and you need to do the same with your children, an expert suggests.

"Children are even more vulnerable than adults to cold-weather and winter-related injuries," Dr. Karen Judy, a pediatrician at Loyola University Health System and professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said in a Loyola news release.

She offered tips to keep children comfortable and safe when they're outside in cold weather:

  • Dress kids in layers. If one layer gets wet, the child can remove it to keep moisture away from the skin.
  • Use fleece and wool garments instead of cotton clothes, which will not provide insulation if they get wet.
  • Warm boots and mittens are essential because extremities are most prone to frostbite. Make sure kids cover their ears and nose and wear a hat to prevent significant heat loss from the head.
  • Children should come inside often to limit their exposure to the cold, and they should change out of wet clothing immediately.

Children can also be at risk when traveling in the car during winter.

"We spend a lot of time in our cars in winter, and this can be dangerous if we are not prepared," Judy said.

"In cold weather, parents need to take additional precautions to keep kids safe while traveling even if it's just to the grocery store. Never leave kids in a car unattended and keep a winter survival kit in the car with blankets, extra socks and gloves, snacks, and a first-aid kit in case the car breaks down or you are stranded in your car," she advised.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers more winter safety tips.

SOURCE: Loyola University Health System, news release, December 2011
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