If we’re lucky, the summer blue skies will stay a clear blue, but we’ll still feel the temperatures drop as the winter season comes upon us. This shift in weather and atmospheric pressure is normal, but with the transition can come new health hazards and safety concerns for young children. By following a few helpful tips, you can identify potential concerns and protect your child before they are affected by the cold weather.
Dress Properly for the Temperature
Bundle up, baby! Freezing temperatures start at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but if windchill is involved, higher temperatures can still affect the body. Layer clothing. Layers can always be shed if the child becomes too hot, but it is harder to warm the body up than it is to cool it down. Create a checklist for your child so you are certain you have all the clothing you need. This could be sweaters, heavy coats, mittens (or gloves), hats, scarves, boots, or any other accessories that will help keep their body heat inside.
When selecting the type of layers you want to dress your kid in, there are a few factors to consider that can make the most of the clothing. First and foremost, make sure all the clothing fits appropriately. Coats may have to be a little bigger than you originally thought to accommodate bulky sweaters or sweatshirts. Mittens should be snug so they seal around the hands to help keep heat in and snow out.
Next, consider the weight and thickness of the clothing. A heavier material may better suit your child than something that is lighter. Clothing with weight will help seal in body heat. The lighter the clothing, the more layers you might need, especially if the material is breathable. While breathability in the material is good, you’ll want to favor materials that definitely keep your little one warm. Wool is always a safe bet for a warm material. There are a few different types of wool that offer different benefits. For instance, alpaca fibers create wool and are quite strong, usually measuring 50 N/ktex, and provide great durability as well as warmth. When you’re shopping for winter clothes for your kids, be sure to take the time to check the material and evaluate its qualities.
Lastly, think about how maneuverable the clothing is. Can you easily get it on and off? This will be beneficial to you as a parent if you need to make clothing adjustments. The last thing kids want to do is pause their playtime. Also, consider the water-resistance of an item. The outermost layers of winter wear should be somewhat water-resistant if you live in an area that sees rain or snow. Cold temperatures are dangerous enough, but frostbite can happen sooner if clothing is wet or even damp against the skin. Water-resistance will help the child last longer outside in colder climates.
Advise Children of Safety Concerns
If children are too young or have a condition, such as Down syndrome, that require additional attention, you will be outside with them while they play, but it is beneficial to warn children of potential safety hazards associated with winter play. Snow can bring visibility issues so forewarn children that cars and even people cannot always see as far in the distance as they can on a clear blue sky day. Let them know they should cross streets defensively and always wait for cars to pass. Roads can be icy so don’t assume that a car has the ability to stop fast. Tell kids they should also be careful when they are running around so they are less likely to slip and fall.
If your child is engaging in a winter sport such as ice skating, hockey, skiing, or snowboarding, advise them to wear a helmet and other safety gear. This could include goggles, elbow pads, or knee pads. Safety gear will protect them from unforeseeable accidents and help prevent reasons to visit urgent care centers.
Pay Attention to Health
There is a correlation between winter weather and coming down with a cold. Research has shown that cold weather slows down our defense processes in the immune system. Medical News Today reports cold air cools the nasal passageway. This slows down the rate at which mucus is cleared and allows viruses to linger longer at an area that is susceptible to our bodies. Kids are especially prone because their immune systems are still developing and may not be as strong as young adults.
But even as an adult, you should pay attention to your health in the winter. Skin, hair, and nails can quickly become dry and brittle if you’re not taking proper care of yourself. Fortunately, biotin supplements in doses from 20mg/day to 300mg/day have been approved for remedying just such an issue. If you’re one of the many health-conscious parents out there, consider that taking care of yourself is paramount to being able to take care of your children.
Pay attention to your child and if they say they are not feeling good. Have they developed a cough? Do they have a fever? Are they more sluggish than normal? Do they claim they have a sore throat? Even if you don’t think they could be getting sick, it is important to remember that colds can develop one to three days after a person has come in contact with the virus. Most of these viruses will only result in the common cold and will disappear in a couple of days, but there is still the real possibility, the cold could develop into a more serious illness.
Urgent Care Center
One of the most important things to have on hand is a quality urgent care center. Even having the best intentions of keeping your child safe and warm this winter might not be enough. If your child gets sick or injured while playing, a quick trip to an urgent care center might be necessary.
If you are unsure about the quality of urgent care centers around you, do some research and start by reading Google and Facebook reviews. The reviews are typically left by patients who have received treatment at the center and they will have ranked the center out of five stars. They will also leave a helpful comment. Reading through some of these will give you an idea of what to expect if you choose to go there.
You will want to find a place that is affordable and has good service. If it is busy, that is a good sign, but you do not want it to be so busy that it has a long wait time to see a doctor. Pay attention to the services they offer. They should be able to provide help for injuries and illnesses while also having the ability to recommend emergency rooms or hospitals if the need arises. Most urgent care centers will be able to aid your child with symptoms of the common cold, but if the need ever arose for something needed like cardiac catheterization for heart disease or other kinds of heart testing, they should be able to recommend further services for such cases.
Stay Warm and Safe this Winter
When it comes down to it, the most important thing you can do for your child is to stay vigilant while looking out for their needs. Dress them properly in the winter and pay attention to what kind of clothing you choose to layer. Advise children of safety concerns in the winter while out playing and talk about the importance of protective gear. Lastly, pay attention to their health and any warning signs they might be giving you. If needed, take them to an urgent care center you trust and feel comfortable with after. With these few precautions, the transition to winter doesn’t have to be difficult.