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Winter safety tips for super cold days

Posted Jan 24 2011 11:01am

by kiwilog

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Last week, it was -46 degrees in Minnesota. Today, New York City’s in the single digits. Even in my cactus- and palm tree-filled Austin, the mercury dropped to 28 degrees overnight on Friday. Couple these unbearable temps with the piles upon piles of snow that have fallen over most parts of the country this season, and we’ve got one frigid winter. And whether your children live for spending the day outside making snowmen or just have to deal with standing outside to wait for the school bus, they’ve got to stay warm. Babies and young kids should wear one more layer than adults when going out in the cold, recommends the American Academy of Pediatrics . Here, some additional winter safety tips:

Hypothermia
Hypothermia develops when a child’s temperature falls below normal due to exposure to cold temperatures. It can occur more quickly in children than in adults, and often happens when a child is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing or when clothes get wet.

Recognize it Your child may shiver and become lethargic or clumsy. Her speech may become slurred and body temperature will decline in more severe cases.

What to do If you suspect your child is hypothermic, call 911 at once. Until help arrives, take your child indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him in blankets or warm clothes.

Frostbite
Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen. This condition tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, toes, ears, and nose.

Recognize it Your child’s skin may become pale, gray, and blistered. At the same time, your child may complain that her skin burns or has become numb

What to do Bring your child indoors and place the frostbitten parts of her body in warm (not hot, about 104 degrees) water (do not rub the frozen areas). For noses, ears, and lips, apply a warm washcloth. After a few minutes, dry and cover your child with clothing or blankets and give her a warm drink. If the numbness continues for more than a few minutes, call your pediatrician.

-Marygrace, staff writer

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