It sounds silly, but until you’ve been stranded in a snowy parking lot with two hungry kids, a three foot fir tree, and five miles to get home you don’t know how much you don’t know about surviving the wintry outdoors until you realize, well… you don’t know.
But no worries, we’re here with the details! Read on to know a little more about surviving the cold weather this winter.
- Check to make sure your carbon monoxide detector is present and working. All the fires and heaters can make a cozy situation suddenly very dangerous
- Stay aware if a fire is lit. Not only could the kids get in trouble, but unchecked smoke could cause CO2 poisoning.
- Sleeping infants should not use blankets to reduce the chances of SIDS. We recommend a fleece sleeping onesie, or if a blanket is your only option to follow these instructions.
- Is your child prone to nosebleeds? Winter air is dry, especially inside. Help keep the nosebleeds to a minimum with a humidifier.
- Make sure all of your children are up to date on their immunizations. With the rise in outbreaks, it is especially important to take care of both ourselves and our communities as we go to public spaces to play. If you want to learn more about the importance of herd immunity click here.
- Wash your hands! The best way to stay healthy during the colder months is to wash your hands frequently.
- Watch out for clothing hazards. Scarves and strings can strangle smaller children, so be cautious when helping them choose the right layers.
- Use sunscreen before heading outside for the little bits of exposed skin. It might seem silly, but the sun’s rays are stronger in winter, especially when reflecting off bright snow. Snow burns are a thing!
- Buddy system is a must. Make sure no-one is going out to play alone, even your older kids.
- Choose a place to play with shelter nearby. It might not be a problem, but it also might save your life.
- Play it safe! Even when roads are closed to traffic its not safe to play and sled in the street. Not only is visibility limited for cars, but the cars will have less control over their vehicle if they see you in time.
- Set a scheduled check-in time when everyone comes in for food and warm beverages. Younger children are more prone to hypothermia, frostbite and frostnip when they get wet and cold, and they might not recognize the signs in time. Hot chocolate and snacks makes a great excuse to get everyone back to home base to check that those layers are keeping everyone warm and dry.
- Prepare your vehicles before the weather gets bad. Check the tread on your tires, consider investing in snow tires (depending on your area), and get some chains just in case. Don’t go unprepared.
- It's going to be cold in your car this time of year, but be sure to remember that kids shouldn’t wear coats when buckled into their car seat harness.
- If you’re about to drive after its been snowing, be sure to check that your tailpipe is clear of snow. A clog can mean carbon monoxide filling the cabin of the car, which is bad news for you and your passengers.
- Go sloooooow while driving. You never know who might be playing somewhere unsafe, especially on a snow day.
- Winter sunsets can be spectacular, but all that shine can be dangerous when you’re on the road. Be prepared with a pair of sunglasses, as well as the knowledge that taking a picture is literally one of the worst ideas you could have. Save a life, keep your phone away.
- Have and practice an emergency evacuation plan with all members of your family. If the worst should occur, everyone should have an idea of who to ask for help and where to go. Practice makes perfect!
- Find an alert system that you like, be it a radio station, website, or app. Keep it on hand, that way when you need it you already know where to look.
- When the storm arrives do everything you can to avoid going out into the elements. Even if it's an emergency your odds of making it to your destination are low.