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Snow Day Safety

Published by , on Jan 30, 2014

winter safetyAs your kids enjoy a few days off from school, and we enjoy the beauty of a white winter, it’s important to remember that cold weather brings challenges and safety concerns. Corri Miller-Hobbs, RN, Safe Kids Virginia Program Coordinator, offers the following safety tips to keep our families safe this winter.Dress AppropriatelyIn order to play outside in the snow, kids should be wearing water repellant or water resistant cold weather gear and layers. Footwear should have traction to prevent slipping and should also be water resistant to keep feet dry. Gloves are also important, and hats are preferable to earmuffs as they keep in more heat. Kids should never be put in clothes with a drawstring or other items that could become a strangulation hazard.Adult SupervisionFrom sledding to snowman making and everything in between, no matter what the activity, children should always be supervised by an adult. Adults should be present not only in case of injury, but also to monitor for overall wellness, including the prevention of hypothermia.Winter Car Seat Safety Most parents might assume bundling children for a ride in a cold car is important, but did you know multiple layers can actually inhibit the effectiveness of a child’s car seat? The bulk of heavy coats and layers creates more space between the child and the safety belt, giving them more room to move and diminishing protection. Keep children in their regular clothing, then buckle them into their seat and cover them with a coat or blanket. Also consider warming the car before your family gets in so that temperature isn’t an issue. For more tips on winter driving with children, click here.Crib SafetyBundling is also a hazard at bedtime. It’s important not to overdress your infant for bedtime, as extra clothing and blankets can become a suffocation or hyperthermia hazard. Simply keep them in warm pajamas or a sleep sack and use a tight-fitting sheet on the bed.Fire PreventionOften times when the weather drops, we start looking for ways to give our home an extra boost of heat. Fireplaces and space heaters may keep our toes nice and toasty, but they can be dangerous if your house isn’t properly prepared. Smoke alarms should be placed on every level of the house, outside every sleeping area and in each bedroom. Carbon monoxide alarms, which are separate from smoke alarms, should also be placed in the same locations. Make sure you check both regularly and note the expiration date. Daylight savings is a great time to check and replace the batteries in your alarms ensuring they’re checked twice a year.Fire safety also includes having an escape plan. If your family doesn’t have a fire escape plan, now is the perfect time to create one. Make sure your home plan includes at least two ways out and just like a school fire drill, it’s important to practice your escape plan as a family on planned and unplanned occasions during both the day and night. In your plan, designate someone to be responsible for getting infants and small children out, and include a backup person in case something happens. Your plan should also include a predetermined place to meet outside so you can be sure everyone is safe. Remember to teach your children the basics of fire safety including what to do if there is smoke, touching the door knob before opening a door and how to signal for help. If you are using a space heater, make sure to keep it at least three feet away from everything and always turn it off if you leave the room.Winter is a great time for playing outdoors in the snow or cozying up inside by the fire, but keeping these tips in mind will ensure your family stays safe inside and outside. What does your family like to do on snow days? Tell us in the comments!

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