CLEVELAND, OHIO – Our best winter memories often include watching the kids run outside to play in the snow.
But to avoid having your memories include a trip to the hospital, Purva Grover, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic Children’s said parents need to keep safety top of mind.
She said one product of winter that almost always spells trouble is black ice.
“It might not be obviously snowing, or have thick inches of snow, but the black, slippery ice can be present when the kids are running down the driveway to catch the bus, or they’re coming back home, or just playing outside – you have to be very mindful and careful with that,” said Dr. Grover.
Dr. Grover said dressing warm – with multiple layers – is always a good idea, as multiple layers keep children more insulated from the cold.
It can be easy to forget when it’s not hot outside, that children can become dehydrated in the winter too. So, make sure that the kids are coming inside and taking a break to drink water when playing outdoors for extended periods of time.
Frostbite is also a concern for children playing out in the cold.
Dr. Grover said it’s important for kids to not only stay warm, but also dry, as the combination of wet and cold is more likely to cause frostbite.
If children are playing outside and wearing shoes instead of boots, if those shoes get wet, it can set them up for frostbite.
And even if the temperature is above freezing, it doesn’t mean that kids aren’t still at risk.
“With frostbite, I think the most important thing to remember is not just how cold it is, but also how long the kids are staying outside for,” said Dr. Grover. “It might be 33 or 34 degrees and sunny, but if the kids are going to be playing outside and are outside for recess and things like that, for a longer time, keep the wind chill in mind.”
For older children who like to help out with snow shoveling duties, Dr. Grover reminds parents that it’s important to make sure kids are shoveling correctly, because they can get back injuries just like adults can.