Here in South Dakota the colorful leaves seem to be leaving us in exchange for this fluffy white stuff. For kids that means snowmen, snowballs, snow angels and snow forts. For the adults in their world it means ensuring that our little ones are safe and comfortable as they enjoy the fresh air. Whether it is a quick walk after school or a longer play time in the snow, children need to be dressed appropriately for weather conditions. The tips that follow are also helpful for all of us as we prepare ourselves for cold weather activities and scraping car windows!
- Layer: Choose fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin and layer so that children can add and take off pieces of clothing to fit the current conditions. Even if your child is only outdoors for a few moments to walk to the after-school program or to walk into the building for preschool, send plenty of warm wear as it is better to have too many layers to choose from than not enough.
- Cover the extremities: Keep the ears, nose, fingers and toes toasty warm as they are farthest from the heart and most likely to start frost bite. Send extra gloves and socks to school incase a pair gets wet during play.
- Keep their head warm: Choose hats that fully cover ears and head and fit well.
- Take breaks: Children love snow and often don’t realize how cold they are until it is too late. Limit play when it is extremely cold to short periods of time with breaks in between to keep kids safe. Require them to take off wet layers while warming up.
- Know the signs of cold weather illness: Frostbite has cold, gray, white or blistering skin with numbness or burning. Hypothermia includes shivering, pale appearance, bluish or cold skin and even confusion or drowsiness. Seek medical attention for any cold related illness.
- If you are unable to afford the warm clothes needed for your child, talk to one of the Teachers, Program Coordinators or Administrators at your child’s school or program. There are community resources they may be able to connect you with.