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AAP: Tips for keeping children warm and safe this winter

The American Academy of Pediatrics has provided 10 tips parents and guardians can utilize to keep their children warm and safe outdoors this winter.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has offered 10 tips for keeping children warm and safe when outside during the winter season.

The AAP encouraged families to have kids continue going outside and staying active during the winter. To encourage this, the AAP provided 10 tips for outdoor winter play and sports.

First, the AAP explained the most appropriate way to dress children for the winter. Children should be dressed in thin layers, with a wicking layer beneath to keep them dry. Snugger layers should be on the bottom, followed by a warmer layer on top. In general, children should wear 1 more layer than adults.

Second, the AAP encouraged parents to set a reasonable time for outdoor play, including periodic breaks indoors to warm up. This will help prevent hypothermia and frostbite.

In their third tip, the AAP stated ice skating should occur only at a rink or at a pond or lake where a professional has checked the ice to ensure it will not crack. According to the AAP, clear blue ice is the strongest, while gray or slushy ice is the weakest and should be avoided.

The AAP also reminded parents that ice formed above flowing water is often dangerous. Their fourth tip was a reminder to parents to have their children to skate in the same direction as the crowd and not to skate alone.

Fifth, the AAP stated sledders should not be near roads, ponds, lakes, crowded areas, and obstructions. Young children should wear helmets when sledding, and loose scarves should not be worn to avoid the risk of getting caught while sledding.

In their sixth tip, the AAP recommended parents find a qualified instructor for their children if they want to learn to ski or snowboard. For older children, the need for supervision should be determined based on maturity and skill, and a friend should always be with them when an adult is not. 

As their seventh and eighth tips, the AAP discouraged alcohol use before any winter activity and encouraged bindings for skiing. The choosing process for bindings can be helped by rental or sales professionals. The AAP’s ninth tip was to have children wear helmets made specifically for skiing or snowboarding, along with wrist guards and knee pads to avoid bruises and fractures.

Finally, the AAP recommended that children aged under 16 years not operate snowmobiles and that children aged under 6 years not ride snowmobiles. Proper gear should also be worn when riding motorized vehicles, which should be driven at safe speeds and on marked trails. Vehicles should not be driven alone or at night.

Reference

American Academy of Pediatrics offers 10 tips to keep children warm and safe outdoors in winter. American Academy of Pediatrics. Accessed December 20, 2022.