Healthy Tahoe: Keep kids safe in winter conditions
Winter and spring in the Sierra Nevada can bring chilly temperatures and safety concerns. Barton Health recommends these tips for keeping how to kids safe during the colder months.
Several thin layers will keep kids warm and dry. Start with a base layer that holds heat and not moisture, such as wool, silk, or polypropylene.
Then top with a mid layer like wool or fleece and an outer layer that’s resistant to water and wind. Keep extremities warm with mittens, waterproof boots, wool socks, and a hat.
When buckling little ones into a car seat, remove puffy jackets as thick layers can lessen the effectiveness of a car seat’s restraints.
Be familiar with cold-related injuries such as hypothermia. Kids can get too cold faster than adults, especially if their clothes get wet. If you see a child shivering, slurring speech, and acting or lethargic, call 911.
They may also slur their speech and become lethargic.
While you’re waiting for help to arrive, take the child inside, wrap them in blankets, and swap any cold or wet clothes with warm and dry ones. Be aware of frostbite, when the skin on extremities like fingers, toes, and noses becomes so cold that it freezes.
The first indicator is redness and tingling. You can prevent this by not letting kids play in weather that’s too frigid and keeping them dry and bundled up. But if it does occur, bring them inside immediately and place the frostbitten parts of the body in warm, not hot, water.
Do not rub the area, and contact your doctor right away.
Remember the Sun
Sunscreen is necessary all year long. The sun’s rays reflecting off the snow can cause sunburn. When you’re outside, apply sunscreen on exposed parts of the body and give your child sunglasses or goggles to wear.
Stay Safe While Having Fun
Keep kids safe when sledding by insisting they sit with feet first, and aim for a hill that isn’t crowded, too steep, covered in ice, or blocked by trees.
Make sure their skiing or snowboarding equipment fits properly, as kids grow fast – last year’s bindings or gloves that fit last year will still work this year – and helmets and goggles are a must for these activities. Need pediatric advice?
All Barton Health primary care offices offer patients 24/7 access for medical advice from a Registered Nurse. Patients can call their Barton provider’s office anytime to be connected.