When kids are playing in the snow, it’s not always easy persuading them to come inside to warm up. From sledding to making snowmen, building snow forts and even snowboarding and skiing, who could blame them for wanting to play all day? During this fun time of year, Consumers Energy stresses the importance of teaching winter safety to families across Michigan.
Six Snow Safety Tips for Families in Michigan
According to Nationwide Children’s, head injuries and broken bones are two of the most common injuries from winter sports. Hypothermia and frostbite are also among the top safety concerns. Many injuries and accidents are preventable when precautions are taken. Consumers Energy offers six tips to keep your children safe in the snow:
- Apply Sunscreen
This may seem silly during the winter months, but your children can get sunburns from playing outside. The snow reflects 85 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, making the use of sunscreen an important step before your children head outside.
- Check on Children Often
Make sure frostbite doesn’t ruin the fun. Regularly check that your children’s mittens are dry and warm, and that their noses aren’t too red.
- Limit Snow Shoveling
If your children decide to make a fort or want to help clear the driveway, be mindful of who is shoveling. School-aged kids can easily lift heavy shovels of snow, but it may be too strenuous for younger ages and cause muscle strain.
- Layer Up
Children should wear multiple layers when playing outside. If the top layers get wet from the snow, your kids can easily peel it off to the dry layers. It also helps to avoid cotton clothing when dressing for outdoor play because it won’t be warm enough in the cold weather. Try to stick with wool or other fabrics.
- Have a Snack
You’ve heard the tip, “Never eat before swimming.” That doesn’t apply to winter play. Give your kids a snack before they head out in the snow. The calories will give their bodies energy in the cold weather.
- Supervise Sledding
Knowing about the hill your children want to sled at is essential. If it’s near a busy road, contains rocks, or is steep and covered with trees, it isn’t a safe spot. You can also prevent any accidents by supervising the sledding activity and encouraging your children to wear helmets.
Frostnip and Frostbite: Know the Warning Signs
Frostnip is the early stage of frostbite. Warning signs of frostnip include red, numb or tingly skin and occurs mostly on fingers, toes, ears, noses and cheeks. If your child is suspected of having frostnip:
- Bring him/her inside
- Remove all wet clothing
- Immerse your child in warm (not hot) water until he/she gets a sense of feeling back
Warning signs of frostbite include cold, white/yellowish gray skin that often feels “wooden” and occurs mostly on fingers, toes, ears and noses. If your child is suspected of having frostbite, take him/her to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately.