Kids in the Cold
March 7, 2019
Wintertime is not quite over! And while the cold weather and hit or miss snow storms are beautiful, they can also bring with them unsafe weather conditions – particularly for little ones who are particularly prone to cold weather-related illnesses and injuries. But, there is good news: the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommendations for parents and caregivers that are proven to help keep kids safe.
Winter Weather Hazards
We all know that flu and cold season is in full effect – but did you know that kids are more likely to become ill throughout the winter season? Researchers have long looked into the question of why people get sick at faster rates in the cold-weather months, and the results (though not complete) are surprising.
Data indicates that it is the viruses themselves – not the weather conditions, like being cold or wet – that make people get sick at a more rapid rate.
Some of the most common illnesses to present in the wintertime are:
- Influenza, or flu;
- Strep throat;
- Stomach viruses, such as the norovirus or rotavirus, and:
- RSV, a serious respiratory illness
Although the cold itself may not be the culprit behind most of these illnesses in children, staying warm can help the body fight against them.
Cold temperatures bring other dangers as well. Infants and children who are exposed to cold weather can develop frostbite and/or hypothermia. Frostbite is the result of the outer layers of skin and tissue freezing, whereas hypothermia has to do with someone’s internal body temperature. Some signs of frostbite include the skin becoming blistered, gray, and/or pale. Typical complaints from frostbite include feeling like the skin is “burning” or is completely numb.
Some symptoms of hypothermia in children are:
- Child becomes lethargic or appears clumsy;
- Slurred speech, and:
- Decreased body temperature
If you believe your child is showing signs of frostbite, contact a doctor and make an appointment. If you believe your child is showing signs of hypothermia, call 9-1-1 right away.
The AAP’s Recommendations
We have compiled a list of official recommendations from the AAP below. Here are some of the agency’s tips:
- Dress infants and young children in several thin lawyers;
- Remember: as a rule of thumb, kids need one more layer than adults;
- Change out of wet clothing right away;
- Abide by AAP guidelines on car seat safety (check out our other articles to learn more), and:
- Avoid using quilts, blankets, pillows, etc. in a baby’s crib space – these are known to increase the chance of strangulation and choking.
If you would like to learn more about the AAP’s recommendations, you can access the agency’s press release here: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/AAP-Winter-Safety-Tips.aspx.
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