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Protect Your Child from Cold Weather

Nothing is more fun for kids than to run outdoors on the first day of snow on the ground and make a snowman or snow angel. Most adults may feel rather neutral about such weather, or even feel turned off. A parent would rather be curled up on the couch under a blanket with their hot cup of tea, then playing out of doors. Children feel differently about the cold, and they will want to play outside.Make sure your kids own and wear the right kind of protective clothing for playing outdoors. They should have long underwear and turtleneck shirts. For outer clothing they need a waterproof coat, boots and snow pants. They should also have mittens that are waterproof. Mittens are better than gloves because the fingers stay warmer when they are closer together. A hat is very important for children. The younger they are, the relatively larger their heads are in proportion to the rest of their bodies. Everyone loses heat quickly from the tops of their heads. Even if a coat has a hood, a hat will keep a head warmer because hoods can gap or fall off. A hat should cover the ears well or ear muffs may also be needed. If your children wear scarves or drawstrings, be sure they are tucked in to prevent them getting caught on something.Toes, fingers and exposed skin are most at risk to frostbite when the weather is cold. To protect toes, be sure to have a thick cotton sock to wear inside boots. After putting on a pair or two of socks, the boots or shoes should not be too tight because hampered circulation can contribute to frostbite. Boots should also be in good condition. If the feet get wet they will lose all their protection from the cold. Fingers are best protected by waterproof mittens or gloves for the same reason. One almost cannot avoid having some exposed skin, so it will be necessary to limit your child's time outdoors as the weather gets extreme. If it is windy and the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, or if the wind chill factor reaches below zero degrees Fahrenheit then you will need to limit the time outdoors. Listen to your local weatherman's recommendations and use your own judgment also. Better to be safe than sorry.Be aware that skin needs other kinds of protection also. Children's skin is especially sensitive to chapping. Be sure to apply lip protection and a moisturizing cream to cheeks and chins before going outdoors. Especially moisturize under a runny nose with petroleum jelly because it will not wear off as quickly. Reapply moisturizers as needed when they are indoors and warm again. Also be aware that sunburn is possible on a cold sunny day, especially if the sunlight is reflecting off snow.Children are usually not inclined to complain that they are cold, so when they do complain, take them seriously and bring them indoors. Warm them up with hot chocolate. If you suspect frostbite, call a doctor and wrap the affected area in a warmed towel. Never rub frostbitten skin. Safety in the cold weather is an important priority for parents of children. Children need their outdoor time to run around and get exercise. Be certain that they do so safely.

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