Children spend a great deal of time outdoors. They are
outside while traveling to school, during school recess breaks, while waiting
for their ride home and while playing. These activities do not stop when the
cold winter weather arrives. NOTE: Much of the information in this
article can also be applied to adults who spend time outdoors in winter.
Tips to Prevent
Frostbite and Hypothermia:
Parents - Preparing
Children for Cold Weather
- Check weather forecasts to
anticipate clothing needs throughout the day. Check out WeatherBug.com web
site for the up-to-date weather conditions in your area.
- Choose play areas with warm
shelters near by.
- Teach children the signs of frostbite
and the importance of dressing warmly.
- Remember that the 'wind-chill
factor' (wind plus freezing temperatures) means that it may be a lot
colder than the thermometer says. Skin freezes much more quickly when the
wind-chill factor is high.
Kids - Wear the Gear
- Dress in layers of clothing.
If you get too warm, you can take off one layer at a time.
- Wear a hat. Most of our body
heat is lost through our heads.
- To prevent frostbite, keep
ears covered, wear mittens instead of gloves and wear warm, waterproof
Other Winter Safety Tips
for Parents and Kids:
- To prevent clothing related
strangulation, wear neck warmers instead of scarves and remove all
drawstrings from clothing.
- Keep sidewalks clear of snow
- Vehicles take longer to stop
on snow and ice. Before crossing the road, be sure all vehicles have come to
a complete stop.
- Stay away from snowplows and
- Ensure children never put
their tongues on cold metal.
- Snow forts can be fun, but
building tunnels can be dangerous -- tunnels may collapse and suffocate a
- Young children should be
well supervised when they play outside.
winter, frozen lakes and ponds can offer fun and affordable recreation. However,
if ice conditions are ignored, there is a risk of falling through the ice. Thin
ice related injuries such as hypothermia and drowning happen every year.
Fortunately, these ice-related injuries and deaths can usually be prevented.
Injury Prevention Tips
for the Ice:
- Know what to do if you hear
the ice crack:
Teach children to call for
help loudly and clearly if they are in trouble.
KIDS, check with a responsible
adult before heading out onto or near the ice.
- Lay down on the ice.
- Crawl or roll back to
Check out the Ice:
- When planning activities on
lakes or rivers, check that the ice is smooth and at least 4 inches thick.
Check with the local authorities for more information on ice thickness.
- Understand that ice is often
- Ice formed on moving
water, such as rivers and creeks varies in thickness. Avoid walking on ice
that is on or near moving water.
- In spring weather,
thick ice is not necessarily safe. During the spring melt; lines of
impurities in the ice melt very quickly, creating weak spots.
- Ice seldom freezes or
thaws at an equal rate.
in doubt about the safety of ice, do not go on the ice.
- Obey all signs posted in or
near the ice.
- Ensure that children only play
on or near ice when a responsible adult is supervising.
- Use the 'buddy system' --
never walk on ice when you are alone.
you go through the ice, follow these 'Self-rescue Steps':
- Float on your stomach facing
- Slowly reach forward onto the
ice - do not push down on it.
- Kick your legs to slowly push
your torso (the upper part of your body) onto the ice. If you can't climb
onto the ice, float in the water and call fro help loudly and clearly.
- Once back up onto the ice,
crawl or roll away from the hole.
- Get medical help immediately.
- A rescue attempt can result in
two victims instead of one. Instead of attempting to pull someone who has
fallen through the ice out yourself, help them to rescue themselves by:
- Phoning 911 for help
- Calling out the
'Self-Rescue Steps' (above) to the victim.
- Pushing or throwing
something (like a long stick, a branch, a rope or a floating aid) to the
victim. Encourage them to use this to help them get out of the water or to
float until expert help arrives.
Reach or throw - but don't go.