So what do you need to do?
I’m sure you’ve all seen Randy from “A Christmas Story” and remember his famous line, “I can’t put my arms down”. His mom had a few things right: he was wearing a snowsuit with a hood and a scarf. But you don’t want the clothing to be waterproof and not so tight.
Here are some tips to make sure your child is ready to play outside
Dress in layers
Before putting on your child’s outerwear, they should be dressed in long underwear, a turtleneck or other long-sleeved shirt and pants and a sweater. These layers will help the body regulate it’s temperature, keeping your child warmer.
Choosing proper outwear is very important to keeping your child warm when they play outside.
- Cover your head — over 50% of heat loss if from your head
- Cover your face — sunscreen still needs to be applied in the winter to skin that is exposed to the sun and lip balm should be applied to the lips
- Cover you neck — wear a scarf
- Cover your body — wear a coat with snowpants
- Cover your hands — wear mittens
- Cover your feet — be sure to wear warm, waterproof boots
Your child’s body will stay warmer if it is dry. Once their clothing is wet, it will get cold and this will cause their little bodies to get cold very quickly. Choosing waterproof outer wear will keep your child dry longer. Once they are wet, they should go inside to remove the wet clothing and warm up.
Just in case: Recognizing Hypothermia and Frost Bite
Hypothermia develops when a child’s temperature falls below normal due to exposure to cold. It often happens when a child is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing. As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy. His speech may become slurred and his body temperature will decline.
If you suspect your child is hypothermic, call 911 at once. Until help arrives, take your child indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him in blankets or warm clothes and cuddle with them. Your body temperature will help to bring theirs back up. Do not try to warm the person too quickly by immersing them in warm water. That could cause heart problems.
Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen. Frostbite is more likely to occur on the fingers, toes, ears and nose. They may become pale, gray and blistered. At the same time, the child may complain that their skin burns or has become numb.
If frostbite occurs, bring the child indoors and place the frostbitten parts of the body in warm (not hot) water. Warm washcloths may be applied to frostbitten noses, ears and lips. Do not rub the frozen areas.
After a few minutes, dry and cover him with clothing or blankets. Get them to a doctor as soon as possible.
Plan ahead to avoid getting too cold
If you give your child a time limit for playing outside you can be sure that they don’t get too cold or too wet. Check on them frequently to make sure that they are staying dry and warm. And always have a nice warm drink ready for when it’s time to come inside.