Winter weather may have kicked into full gear where you are, or you may have another few mild weeks before the coldest part of the year arrives. My family lives in Florida now, so we don’t need to worry too much about ice, snow and freezing temperatures except for the years that we go “home” to New England in the winter! Even if you live in a warm climate, it’s good to brush up on the basics of keeping everyone safe from the cold; you may visit someone in a colder state this year or in the coming years. Here are a few things to keep in mind in order to keep yourself and your children safe this winter:
- Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Any fuel-burning appliance, such as a gas dryer, a gas stove, fireplace or non-electric heater, can create carbon monoxide. Unfortunately, every winter, there are news reports of entire families killed because they did not know that the odorless, colorless gas had filled up their homes. Smoke detectors are, of course, important in every home no matter the time of year, so if you haven’t checked your batteries in a while, go take five minutes to do it right now.
- Dress kids appropriately for the weather. If they’re going to be playing outside, make sure that they have waterproof gloves or mittens, hats that cover their ears and dry socks inside of their boots. Keeping the extremities covered with dry clothing will help prevent frostbite. If the kids are outside for a long period of time or it’s very cold out, periodically check to be sure that their fingers, toes, noses and ears are warm enough; if it’s below freezing and there’s a windchill, it’s best to limit the amount of time that they’re spending outside.
- Pack an emergency kit in the car. Between dead batteries, cars stuck in the snow and other types of trouble with your vehicle, you could end up stranded for a while. This is annoying and inconvenient during mild weather, but it could be deadly if it happens and you’re caught unprepared in the winter. Pack a kit that has blankets, extra gloves, nonperishable food, flashlights and flares. Also, try to make sure that your cellphone battery is always well-charged and that you keep your gas tank at least halfway full.
- Don’t overbundle your baby. Dress a young baby in one more light layer than what you’re wearing. Wrapping a small baby in many layers of clothing or blankets isn’t comfortable and could contribute to SIDS. Remember not to put loose blankets in the crib at all; dress your infant in a warm sleeper instead of using quilts or blankets if at all possible.
Do you have any winter safety tips to share with our readers?