Winter is here and all that follows…icy weather, snow, blowing winds and even bright sunshine! As a parent, I’m eager to get my kids outside for some fresh air and exercise — and to enjoy all that our Wisconsin winter has to offer. Matching up mittens, finding warm socks and getting everyone into their winter gear is definitely a process at our house. I need a mental checklist to make sure everyone has what is needed to stay safe. Did you know that sunscreen and water are important (but easily overlooked) items on that list?
Whether your family is gearing up to go sledding, skating, skiing, snowboarding or just playing outside, following these five simple important reminders to keep your family safe.
Clothing: Dress your kids in warm layers of clothing. Have your kids come indoors periodically to prevent hypothermia or frostbite. One of my Children’s Wisconsin colleagues has a few great tips for preventing frostbite.
Safety gear: Make sure your kids use the proper gear, like helmets, when they are skiing, snowboarding or sledding. Investing in a properly fitted winter helmet ensures you have one available for all winter activities. An added bonus: winter helmets are warm! All safety gear should fit properly and be well-maintained. Goggles protect the eyes by reducing glare from the reflection off the snow. Snowboarders should use wrist guards and kneepads to help prevent bruises and fractures.
Sun protection: It is easy to overlook sunscreen when it’s cold, but it is just as important to protect the skin in winter months when glare from the snow makes sun damage more likely. Apply a high SPF sunscreen and lip balm with sun block before heading outside.
Water: Compared to adults, children are at a higher risk of dehydration — and yes, it can and does happen even in cold temperatures. When you take a break inside to warm up from the cold, make sure to drink a little water too.
Weather: We all know winter weather conditions can change rapidly. Keep an extra set of dry clothing on hand. Watch the weather and plan to head inside if conditions become hazardous.