SILVER SPRING, Md, December 22, 2012 – Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! From the first feathery flakes to the accumulation of white outside the window, the lure of snow, snow men (and women), snow angels, snow sledding, snow forts and snow ball fights are simply irresistable.
When you have a child, each season poses its challenges, but with winter comes snow, and with it things to think about before you head off into the cold and wet wintery wonderland.
Here are some tips for letting you little one have his first (and second, and third) snow experience safely.
Have the right gear
If you live in an area that sees snowfall regularly, consider buying your child a snow suit. For nine months and under these tend to be a single piece, head-to-toe, thick, puffy, hooded suit. Once you hit the year mark, snow suits tend to come in two pieces, the overall pants and the coat.
Make sure you have a correctly sized suit for your child by the time you regularly start getting snow. For areas that do not usually see snow until after the holidays, you may be able to get a deal by waiting for the snow suits to go on sale, but be careful not to wait too long or you may not be able to get something that fits.
Look for ones made of water-resistant material. Such a snowsuit will be able to take a barrage of snowballs, snow angels making, and rolling down a hill after ditching a sled. Since water can make you colder faster, keeping dry is important.
Also, make sure the material will help keep the wind out. You can lose a lot of warmth to a breeze.
Also, think ahead and look at thrift stores. Many a snow suit gets sent to the thrift shops barely worn. If you look early, before it snows, you might find a barely worn bargain.
After you find your snow suit, do not forget the snow boots. Imitation suede boots with faux-fur linings may look adorable, but they are not good in the snow. You want to find a water-proof or water resistant boot that will keep feet dry as melting snow tries to work its way inside your little one’s shoes as he stomps around the yard.
Getting those boots and snowsuits on might be difficult, so a tip is to put the childs hand or foot into a plastic bag, one of those heavier plastics bread wrappers is perfect. The plastic allows the hand/arm to slide right through and the boot will slip on and off easily.
Pull the plastic bag off the arm however one the foot the plastic provides an extra layer of waterproofing. Of course, a plastic bag on the foot is great, but be careful little ones do not remove them from their feet, or pick them up after you have taken them off as they carry their own inherent dangers.
Some areas of the country do not see snow all that often or rarely at best. If you live in such a region chances are you will not have a snow suit laying around. While it may seem like a no brainer to bundle up, do not forget to cover all areas. A poofy jacket may look warm, but without the rest of the body dressed similarly, you’ll have a shivery child before too long.
A hat helps keep in heat and protects ears from frostbite. Mittens keep fingers together and spreads the warmth between them. Thick socks, or double up the standard cotton sock inside the boots, slow how quickly your child’s feet get cold.
If you do not have snow boots, try rain boots over moisture wicking or wool socks (and don’t forget the plastic bag!).
Having the snow suit is fine, but you and your child will have more fun if you layer clothing underneath it. A pair of leggings under the jeans under the snowsuit pants adds an extra layer. Putting a fleece jacket on over the shirt and under the snow-jacket can help add additional insulation.
Do not forget the sun screen. Kids can get as easily burned in the winter from the sun reflecting off the snow as they can by spending a summer day at the lake. The UV rays are around whenever the sun is out, even if it’s not 80 degrees, and the snow acts as a perfect reflective surface.
So while it may not be the first thing you think of, make sure you grab the bottle of sunscreen for the parts of your child’s face that will be exposed outside, and reapply as your normally would.
There is also SPF lip balm that can be used in place of Chapstick
Keep extras available
Socks, mittens and hats are all prime candidates for becoming cold and wet and putting an early end to the frozen outdoor fun. For this reason, try to keep extras of each of these essentials on hand.
That way when your children start complaining that their feet are cold, or their hat is covered in snow, you can swap it out and allow them to continue playing rather than ushering them inside.
While playing in the snow can be fun, it can also be dangerous. Hypothermia and frostbite are serious considerations. Parents should be on the lookout for possible signs of either of these conditions, including shivering, cold red or bluish fingers, toes, ears or noses.
Take breaks periodically to go inside and warm up. While it may be tough to take a break from outside fun, hot chocolate can be a fun and tasty lure back inside, that can give you a chance to throw wet clothes in dryer before going back out.
And the only way to remove a tongue frozen to metal is warm water; in an emergency, find some clean snow, put it your mouth and let it melt, the aim it toward the frozen taste buds, while someone runs for a glass of hot water, cocoa, coffee… any warmer than body temperature liquid will do.
Snow is irresistible to kids, teens, and many adults who should also practice warm and safe snow play practices. By following these tips, you can let your kids have snow ball battles, build igloos, and make snow angles without worry.
Follow Brighid on Twitter a @BrighidMoret and receive updates when new columns post on Facebook. Read more about first time parenting issues in Parenting the First Time Through at The Communities at The Washington Times.
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