Alright everyone. We’re in the dregs of it now. We’re hunkered down and getting through winter.
Thanks to social media, I have an insider look into what winters are like for people all over North America. For some people, winter is 40 degree temperatures with heavy wind and rain. For some, it means temps plummeting to the high 60s and lots of clouds.
Ugh. If only.
For some of us, we’ve had several days of school canceled because of the monumental amounts of snow and/or cold.
I’m in Southeast Idaho, and the temperatures have been 20 below, 40 below with windchill, which makes school hazardous. And the worst is when it’s sunny out and my little snow bunnies want to just go out and play!
If your kids want to play in the snow, here are just a few cold weather safety tips to keep them safe and happy.
Cold Weather Safety Tips
Cover up. Layer up. Bundle up. When the body gets cold, it draws its heat to its core to protect vital organs. That leaves our outer appendages susceptible to extreme temperatures. Fingers, toes, ears, cheeks all need to be protected.
Limit outdoor play when temperatures drop dangerously low. My kids have to be of a hardier stock here in the great frozen tundra of Southeast Idaho. 😉 If the temps are below 20, we don’t let them out. Ok, sometimes we let them out for a few minutes if it’s 15, but no lower. Except that one time it was only 10 degrees…
But when I let them outside to play in all that glorious snow, I keep the time to a minimum. A good rule of thumb for me is about a minute for every degree it is. If it’s 15 degrees, they can be outside for about 15 minutes.
Younger kids are more at risk to those colder temps. For younger kids, I just wouldn’t let them out in that cold. Older ones are a bit more headstrong and willing to laugh in the face of danger. *cough* frostbite *cough* Younger ones are easier to distract and keep inside.
Keep close attention to those cheeks. If they’re slightly flushed from playing and exerting themselves, and lightly tinged by the cold. No biggie. If they start to get an alarming shade of red, they need to come in immediately. My seven year old came out to play while I shoveled. I finally looked over at him 20 minutes later and his cheeks were bright red. I told him he had to go in right away because his cheeks were red, which means the skin was hurt and starting to get damaged. “I don’t care!” he told me. Then he thought for a second and said, “I’m going in. My cheeks hurt.”
Good call, buddy.
When playing in the snow, always make sure you know what your kids are doing. Do you have to stand at the door and watch them the whole time? No. But frequently check to make sure you know what they’re doing. Snow can sometimes muffle cries for help, so if there’s distress, it may not make it to you.
Sledding can cause bumps and falls, so be watchful with sledding kids. Ice can be hidden under the snow, so check periodically to make sure no one has slipping on the ice and hit their head. One thing my kids love to do is dig burrows in the snow. Like little snow caves. How fun is that? So fun, but also very dangerous. A kid digs deep enough into the snow and we can’t see if the burrow has collapsed with them underneath.
Our rule is only dig burrows if an adult is out there. The kids think it’s a tiresome rule, but that’s what happens when you’re a mean mom. So just make sure you know what’s going on outside.
When it’s time to bring in the little snowmen, a promise of hot cocoa is an excellent bribe. I mean, motivator. Try out our Belgian Hot Chocolate! You’re welcome.
What do you think? Any cold weather safety tips I missed? Any other ideas for keeping little ones happy and healthy in the snow this winter?