For many, this season is a good time to get outside and enjoy numerous outdoor activities like skiing and skating.
Snow, ice and cold weather can be fun, but it can also pose some dangers of which parents/guardians, teachers and students need to be aware.
The following are some simple tips to help keep you warm over the coming cold months:
- Pay close attention to local weather forecasting to be aware of any impending storms or winter weather systems. Plan appropriately.
- If schools are to close due to adverse weather, announcements will be made through local radio stations and school alerting systems. Notices will also be placed on the School Status Report section of this website. Parents/guardians are encouraged to monitor closely and ensure there are appropriate plans in place for family members.
- Wear a hat; a lot of body heat is lost through the head.
- Keep ears covered at all times to prevent frostbite.
- Mittens are recommended over gloves so that fingers can be bunched together for warmth.
- Wear warm, waterproof boots that are roomy enough for an extra pair of socks and to wiggle toes around.
- After play, remove wet clothing and boots immediately.
- Ensure you are dressed appropriately for weather conditions. Dress your child in layers that can be put on and taken off easily. If a child's feet and hands are warm, what they are wearing is usually good.
- Take extra caution when waiting at bus stops and crossing roads. Pavement can be extremely slippery this time of year and it may be hard for drivers to see children playing in winter weather.
- Do not play alone outside. Establish a buddy system with one or more friends to look out for each other and make sure to take 'warm-up' breaks during prolonged winter play.
- Never send children outside in extreme weather conditions, such as snowstorms.
- Stay away from snowplows and snowblowers. Make sure you chose play areas that are away from roads, fences and water.
- Do not play on roadside snowbanks, as snowplow drivers and other vehicles may not see children playing.
- Help children choose play areas with a warm shelter nearby, such as a friend's house.
- If skating outside, make sure you do so safely. Never assume it is safe to skate on a lake or pond. Speak with local law enforcement about the safety of local waters. An adult should check the ice thickness accordingly before skating:
- 15 cm for walking or skating alone
- 20 cm for skating parties or games
- 25 cm for snowmobiles.
- Be aware that if the temperature or windchill is reported to be -25 degrees Celsius, exposed skill can begin to freeze. Take measures to ensure all skin is covered and routinely take warming breaks to combat the cold.
Sources: Canadian Pediatric Society, Canada Safety Council, and the Canadian Red Cross.
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