Outdoor Winter Safety
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
It is easy to become bored and depressed if you stay inside the house all winter. That is why it is advisable to continue to go out.
- Dress warmly by wearing a hat, a scarf, several layers of loose-fitting clothing that fit snugly around the wrists and ankles, mittens, a water-resistant coat, long thick socks and water-resistant non-slip shoes or boots. It is best if the inner layers are made of wool and polypropylene, since they are better at preventing heat loss than cotton. The best clothing is a polypropylene inner layer to drain moisture, a wool or fleece middle layer for insulation and a nylon or gore-tex outer layer for wind and water resistance.
- Do not over-dress. Perspiration chills the body and promotes heat loss, so remove a layer if you are too warm.
- Keep the steps and walkways outside your house free of snow to make it safe for yourself and your children. You can also use rock salt or sand to make it less slippery.
- Kids love to play in the snow, but it is advisable to supervise or check on them often to make sure they do not remove clothing. Exposed skin can freeze in minutes in snow storms.
- Skating, sledding and tobogganing are safest if they are done sitting, kneeling or standing up. It is dangerous to lie down, especially to sled head-first or on one's back. A ski helmet can keep kids safe from unnecessary head injuries.
- Use sun screen on sunny and even cloudy days.
- Be careful around thawing ice and keep kids away from frozen pools and lakes. Clear blue ice is the strongest and safest. White opaque or snow ice is reasonably safe and is the most common form. Grey ice is melting and thus unsafe.
- Extremities like toes, fingers and noses are the first to suffer from frostbite. If they are numb and pale, go inside and warm them.
- Winter outdoor exercise puts a lot of strain on your heart, because your body has to produce energy to keep warm and to move around. Rest frequently and be sensitive to how you feel.
Enjoy your outdoor sport and games this winter, but make sure it is both fun and safe.