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Playing Outdoors: Winter Safety Tips for Kids

For many kids, winter is an exciting time as snow storms mean days off from school, sledding, building snowmen, and more. While lots of kids love playing outside in the snow, cold weather, snow, and ice can present certain dangers to children. That does not however mean that kids can't go out and enjoy the snow, but there are some simple safety precautions that should be taken to keep kids protected.

General Outdoor Winter Safety

Children should never be allowed to play outside alone no matter what time of year. Younger children should always be accompanied by an adult while older children are often okay as long as they are always with a buddy. Kids should also be checked on periodically to make sure that they are dry and warm enough. If necessary, they should come inside to warm up and drink some hot chocolate. If the weather is especially cold and windy, kids should be encouraged to stay indoors until it warms up a bit to avoid the risk of frostbite and hypothermia. It is also important that kids know to stay away from roads, snow plows, and snow blowers.

Dressing For Winter Weather

Before kids head outside to play in the snow, they should be dressed in several layers to stay warm. Most body heat escapes through the head so a warm hat is important to not only keep the head covered but also the ears to prevent frostbite. Gloves should also be worn as frostbite tends to affect areas such as the fingers and toes first. Kids should wear warm, waterproof boots to keep their feet safe and warm as well. Once kids come inside, wet clothes should be removed immediately and replaced with warm, dry clothes.

Sledding Safety

For many kids, the best part of a snowstorm is going sledding afterward. Kids should wear a helmet while sledding to prevent head injuries and should always kneel or sit up on a sled to prevent head or spinal injuries. Sledding should only be done in safe locations away from roadways and areas with lots of trees, fences, or other obstacles.

Skiing and Snowboarding Safety

Skiing and snowboarding can not only be fun but can also be a great way for kids to exercise. To avoid injuries, children should take lessons from qualified snowboarding or skiing instructors. Equipment should also be regularly maintained and a helmet should be worn at all times. Kids should also know to watch out for other skiers and snowboarders and to stay in designated areas.

Instead of sitting indoors for the entire winter season, kids should be encouraged to get outside to play and get some fresh air. As long as some simple safety precautions are taken, kids and adults can enjoy spending time outdoors even in colder weather.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart