1. Right Clothing
Think in layers and remember that the overall goal of the clothing is the stay dry. At a minimum, kids should have a wool or synthetic base layer, insulation layer, water/wind resistant outer layer, gloves, warm hat, winter socks, goggles, and waterproof boots. Mid-layers like fleece sweaters provide more insulation and can be adjusted to temperature. It is often underestimated how quickly a child can lose body heat, especially if their clothing is wet. Afterall, they do have a greater body surface area than adults, hence heat loss can occur quickly.
Avoid cotton base layers close to the skin. Sweating from increased activity can lead to wet base layers. Cotton is poor at wicking away moisture and tends to remain wet much longer than wool or other synthetic materials.
Hand and feet discomfort is a common problem in the winter. Gloves are often dropped or lost or become soaked from snow play. Cold feet is usually caused by wet socks. Therefore, carry spare socks, gloves, and hat for your kids. It makes a world of difference to have dry socks. And keep in mind that mittens are warmer gloves.
Helmets are a must when skiing or sledding. Children can generate high speeds with little control. Trees, icy surfaces, rocks, and buildings are not forgiving. Also be aware that your child is at risk of collision with another skier that is much bigger, heavier, and faster. Wearing helmets can reduce head injuries by 30 to 50 percent, and may be the difference between life and death.
A proper fitting ski helmet is critical. Investing in a new helmet every year for your child is well worth it. And, no. A bicycle helmet is not an adequate replacement for a ski helmet. Plus, it might mess with your kids self esteem, it does look dorky!
Goggles are underestimated but so crucial for kids. Goggles reduce glare and increase contrast to help improve vision in the ever changing winter conditions. They also help provide protection from the cold and debris. But the biggest win is the elimination of eye damage from harmful UV radiation. The snow reflects UV rays from the sun, exposure without adequate eye protection it can lead to snow blindness.
Many injuries and discomforts can be prevented with rest breaks for your children. Injuries can easily be the result of tired muscles and slowed reflexes. Exhaustion and dehydration can further potentiate body heat loss and frostbite-like issues. The cold temperatures cause an increase in metabolism to keep the body warm and energized. Blood sugar is important to maintain the body’s energy needs and can quickly drop. So take a break allows your kids to rehydrate, refuel, and warm up. Warm sugary drinks are perfect for snow breaks. Consider carrying a thermos for on the hill rests or while in the lift line
Changing into dry clothes may be necessary and be sure to ask your kids if they have any areas of pain. Keep in mind that more breaks may be required as your child adjusts to high altitudes or if temperatures are extreme.
Now that you are prepared, go out with your kids and have fun! Let us know if this article helped you or if you have any other tips for keeping kids happy and safe during the winter. If you want to learn more about outdoor safety, wilderness first aid and winter safety, check out our online course at https://base-medical.thinkific.com/courses/outdoor-safety-online . And as always, stay safe!