WINTER STORM TIPS

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The following Winter tips are from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Please feel free to use them in any print or broadcast story, with appropriate attribution of source.


Preparing for Winter Storms

  • Understand the hazards of wind chill, which combines the cooling effect of wind and cold temperature on exposed skin.
  • Keep your car's gas tank full. This keeps the fuel line from freezing.
  • Listen to an NOAA Weather Radio, or a portable battery-powered radio (or television) for updated emergency information.
  • Move animals to sheltered areas.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel.

What To Do During a Winter Storm

  • Stay indoors and dress warmly during the storm. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than one bulky sweater.
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio or television for updated emergency information.
  • Eat regularly. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
  • Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration.

Dressing Children for Winter

  • Newborn babies need to be protected from the elements. Dress them in several layers of light clothing to keep them warm. Avoid overheating.
  • The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same situation.
  • Blankets, quilts, pillows, sheepskins and other loose bedding may contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and should be kept out of an infant's sleeping environment. Warm footed pajamas are preferred.
  • If a blanket must be used to keep a sleeping infant warm, it should be tucked in around the crib mattress so the infant's face is less likely to become covered by bedding.

Hypothermia

  • Hypothermia develops when a child's temperature falls below normal due to exposure to cold. It often happens when a youngster is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing.
  • As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy. His speech may become slurred and his body temperature will decline.
  • If you suspect your child is hypothermic, call 911 at once. Until help arrives, take the child indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him in blankets or warm clothes.

Frostbite

  • Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen.
  • This condition tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, toes, ears, and nose. They may become pale, gray and blistered. At the same time, the child may complain that her skin burns or has become numb.
  • Bring the child indoors, where you should place the frostbitten parts of her body in warm (not hot) water. Warm washcloths may be applied to frostbitten nose, ears and lips.
  • Do not rub the frozen areas.
  • After a few minutes, dry and cover her with clothing or blankets. Give her something warm to drink.
  • If the numbness continues for more than a few minutes, call your doctor.

Winter Health

  • If your child suffers from winter nosebleeds, try using a cold air humidifier in the child's room at night. Saline nose drops may help to keep tissues moist. If bleeding is severe or recurrent, consult your pediatrician.
  • Many pediatricians feel that bathing two or three times a week is enough for an infant. More frequent baths may dry out the skin, especially during the winter.
  • Cold weather does not cause colds or flu. But the viruses that cause colds and flu tend to be more prevalent in the winter, when children are in school and are in closer contact with each other. Frequent hand-washing and teaching your child to sneeze or cough into their elbow and away from others may help reduce the risk of colds and flu.
  • Children between the ages of 6 and 23 months are encouraged to get an influenza vaccine to reduce their risk of getting the flu.


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