During the winter months, your kids are not going to be happy staying cooped up indoors day in and day out. Sunlight is important for a growing child, and kids need to spend some time out of doors, even when it is cold outside.
There are all kinds of fun activities for kids to participate in during the winter. Most children love participating in winter sports such as hockey, figure skating, skiing, snowboarding, and broom ball. Others prefer going out and making snowmen or snow forts. All of these activities are a lot of fun, but there are also some risks associated with participating in winter sports and activities. You should definitely encourage your kids to get outside and get active when it is cold, but you’ll also want to take certain precautions in order to prevent illness and injury. Follow the tips listed below, and you’ll have a safe and enjoyable winter with your children.
Winter Safety Hazards:
As the weather gets colder, snowier and icier, kids and adults are more susceptible to certain types of injuries and illnesses. The immune system can be weakened by overexposure to the cold, thus leading to an increase in the common cold, the flu and more serious illnesses.
Even if it isn’t super cold out, the presence of snow and ice can be a major hazard for kids playing outside. A lot of accidents occur when kids slip on a patch of ice that they missed. Other children may get hurt while participating in various winter sports. Snowboarding in particular leads to a lot of injuries, such as abdominal trauma, broken bones and neck injuries. These usually happen when kids run in to trees, rocks or other snowboarders.
Just because these injuries and illnesses occur doesn’t mean it is a good idea to lock your kids inside all winter long. It is better to teach children about winter safety and then take the risk that they might get hurt. After all, getting hurt is a natural part of life, and it is impossible to avoid completely. A few other “101” reminders for you and your child:
Be wary of icicles
The steeper the hill, the greater the chance of injury
Snow Plows pose a serious safety threat
Snow forts will melt, break and collapse eventually
Although it is great to bundle your kids up and send them outside, this will not always be possible. If there are subzero temperatures, super high wind chills, or worst of all, blizzards, you’ll want to keep the children indoors. While they are inside, there are certain precautions you can take to prevent illness. Have your children wash their hands frequently or use disinfectants when soap and water are not available. They should know to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing and immediately go wash their hands afterwards. This will prevent germs and viruses from spreading to other family members.
If it is a little nicer out, you may decide to have your children help out with shoveling the snow. Just be careful that you aren’t asking super young children to help out, for they risk getting injured from the heavy load of shovels full of snow. When they are outside shoveling, be sure to check on your kids frequently to make sure they aren’t getting frostbite or hypothermia. If your child does end up with frostbite or hypothermia, it is imperative that you take him or her to the hospital immediately. Waiting too long may lead to serious repercussion, and even death.
Dressing for the Weather:
The best way to keep kids safe when they are outside is to have them bundled up in warm winter clothes. Avoid materials that will get wet in heavy snow. Your kids should wear coats, snow pants, hats, mittens, boots and scarves. Some parents have their children wear mittens with attached by a string. The string can be threaded through the sleeves of a child’s coat so that he or she won’t lose them.
You aren’t always going to be around to supervise your kids when they go outside, so make sure that they understand the importance of dressing for the weather. They may not realize how important it is to wear hats and mittens, but it would be pretty awful if they had to learn the hard way and get frostbite. Sometimes, older children and teenagers think that wearing warmer clothes is not “cool,” so they’ll go to great measures to keep light clothing on. It may help to take them shopping for winter clothes and let them pick something that they’d actually be willing to wear out in public. Sometimes, teens are just too embarrassed to wear the clunky wool mittens knitted by grandma. Better to have them in a pair of warm mitten that they’ll actually remember to wear.
A lot of kids get injured while participating in winter sports. Before your kids go out somewhere to play, you should have an idea of what the location is like and whether it is safe. For example, if your children want to go sledding, you should know if there are a lot rocks or trees on the sledding hill. And if they are planning on going snowboarding or downhill skiing, it is good to have some idea of how extensive the slope’s snow patrol is. You don’t want your kid snowboarding somewhere where he or she can’t get help in the event of an injury.
These days, a lot of kids and teens get injured in snowmobiling accidents. Before a child goes out in a snowmobile, he or she should understand how to operate it and what to do in case of an emergency. Your child should always wear protective gear while snowmobiling, and must be under the supervision of a responsible adult.
So, if you’d like a damage-free child this winter, keep them within eye sight and be sure to take all the proper precautions when it comes to the winter season. A little extra vitamin C and soup wouldn’t hurt, and you can always avoid enormous doctor bills by making sure to instill your own applicable safety knowledge in any sort of physical activity or sporting event.
Guest Blog by
Erik Braunitzer of Douglas Elliman Real Estate Company, brokers for New York City Real Estate