Doc Talk: Children Winter Safety
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) —
Becca Mitchell, 7, has all sorts of brains, tons of energy and really strong lungs.
Snow is flying and instead of in the doctor's office, she'll be on the slopes with other kids, but not until she's all layered up at least.
Cassandra Mitchell, Becca’s mom, has a game plan and all the gear ready for the season...
She said, “If it's snowing out, I'll make sure they get their boots on and their mittens and their hats and get them all bundled up.”
Borgess Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Tom Akland said, “Usually what the recommendation would be would be that if you're wearing a certain level of layers. Add one layer for your kids, so like if you're wearing three layers, make your kid wear four.”
Akland said Cassandra is doing it right and that they don't see kids who suffer from cold weather injuries very often, but when they do, it's concerning.
Akland said, “If they're having a good time they're going to want to keep playing, even if they're at risk for having problems.”
Problems like frostbite or hypothermia.
Akland says parent's should pay attention to their child's behavior and their skin, especially the face, hands and feet, and make sure they're warm and dry.
Akland said, “You want to make sure that you’re using other things like fleece or wool or anything that doesn’t attract or hold on to water.”
Cassandra said, “So usually, their face gets really red, you know, stuff like that and I have them come in for a little bit and we'll have hot chocolate or something.”
Traveling in the cold, snowy weather can also be risky, which is why Akland stresses that parents need to make sure their kids are properly fastened into their car seats.
He recommends taking off the heavy coat first, then buckle them in.
Akland said, “The belts aren’t hitting the child's chest or there's a space in between the belts and the chest and you want to make sure that's tight because if there were an accident you want to make sure that that belt is doing its job.”
As far as car seat safety, we have a few additional resources at https://www.safekids.org/ultimate-car-seat-guide/ and https://www.consumerreports.org/car-seats/the-dangers-of-winter-coats-and-car-seats/
In the meantime, if you do have concerns about your child after they come in from the cold, Akland says it's never a bad idea to contact your doctor.
He said “In general, I would say with a little bit of self-awareness by the kid and then also by using your own sort of judgement. You can really do a good job with your children keeping them safe in the winter time.”