While the winter offers many fun outdoor activities, low temperatures come with a variety of safety risks. Use these tips to stay safe while spending time outside during the colder months.
Make sure you are wearing clothing that is right for cold temperatures and harsh conditions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that both children and adults outfit themselves in layered clothing, coats and boots that repel water, scarves or knit masks to protect the face, hats and mittens, since they preserve heat better than gloves. The source recommends choosing clothing made from heavy materials such as wool or silk and trying to stay as dry as possible since wet clothes can cause your body heat to quickly drop.
Be careful of ice
Ice is a major concern when you're playing outside this winter. Be careful of dangerous icicles that form on buildings – they can break off and cause serious damage. Make sure you are aware of ice on sidewalks, driveways and staircases to avoid any accidental falls that could lead to broken bones. The CDC suggests sprinkling sand and salt on these areas to prevent them from freezing over completely. If you plan to walk or skate on a frozen pond, make sure to take the proper precautions and carefully check the thickness of the ice before placing any weight on it, notes KidsHealth.org. Always wear a helmet when skating and be sure to supervise children.
Prevent hypothermia and frost bite
According to the CDC, hypothermia occurs when your body is exposed to cold temperatures for long spans of time and starts to lose heat rapidly. Very low body temperatures can negatively affect the brain, making this a serious health risk. Hypothermia often happens when people are not dressed appropriately or remain in cold, wet clothing for too long, so make sure that you are outfitted correctly and change clothes soon after getting wet. Frost bite happens when your body parts actually freeze and can result in permanent damage if not recognized and treated right away. The lower the wind chill, the less time it will take for frost bite to occur. Prevent these issues by listening to your body – when it gets too cold, head inside for warm blankets, space heaters and hot cocoa.
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