Watching children enjoy snow is a great experience for any parent: snow angels, snow men and more! Help keep your toddler comfortable while playing out in the cold by remembering these simple tips.
Check the weather before getting your child ready to go out. A quick peek at the radar may save you from having to dry out a soggy and sad child when the snow changes to sleet…or icy rain.
Be Sun Safe
It may seem strange to think about sunscreen during the winter months, but snow reflects the sunlight right back up from the ground. While it may not cause an obvious burn without prolonged exposure, the ultraviolet rays can still do lasting damage.
Start with a nice layer of thermal long underwear on both the bottom and top. Add a shirt and sweater to the top. Wool or fabrics made specifically for the cold are recommended. Cotton is comfortable, but will not provide an adequate barrier from the cold.
Jeans are a go-to item for most adults, but these cotton-based staples don't do a good job of keeping the cold out and can easily get too wet to be comfortable. For children, top them off with a waterproof pair of ski pants and a winter coat.
Don't Forget the Feet
Thick woolen socks and a sturdy pair of waterproof boots will help keep the toes warm. Look for a pair of boots with a sturdy tread that will help keep your child upright when walking over slippery surfaces.
It's important to keep your child close by and within easy reach while outside. Snow alters the landscape, making the usually familiar neighborhood a strange place where hazards, like rocks and holes, are hidden. Driveways piled up with snow to each side, also make it hard for oncoming cars to realize children are at play nearby.
Bunny Slope Sledding
Older children may be ready for bigger hills, but for those who've just learned to walk, a gentle slope is best. It may seem obvious to most, but choose a slope that has no obstructions. Remember, a fence at the bottom of even the gentlest slope is NOT a safety net, and may even cause injury.
How Cold is Too Cold?
Cold weather presents too many variables for anyone to give an exact time around safe exposure. If it feels uncomfortable for you as an adult to be out, it's best to quickly corral the troops back inside. And this is not the time to ignore a child's complaints about the cold. They may just need a change of mittens to keep the fun going, but check them over and don't let them stay out if they've begun to shiver. This is the body's sign that it's time to seek warmth and leave the snow for another day.