Should winter weather be a safety concern when it comes to your child?
In the southeast where our winters are normally mild, we don’t often think about winter safety precautions until a winter freeze or storm warning occurs. However, you definitely should be prepared – and ensure your child care provider is too.
Remember that children need outdoor play time in the winter just like other seasons. In fact, research indicates that children who play outside during winter are actually healthier. However, make sure that the play area you frequent or that is at your child care program is clean from debris, not covered in ice or frozen, and not under any frozen limbs that could snap. Pay attention to playground surfacing and equipment wear and tear: as temperatures drop, some materials expand or become brittle and surface materials tend to lose their resiliency resulting in harder falls.
Lastly, cold weather does not cause colds or flu but the viruses that do are more common in the winter. Be sure you are having your child wash her hands frequently and thoroughly at home and while in child care.
- Keep extra changes of clothes (including hat, mittens, coat/sweater and socks), diapers, and snacks stocked in your child’s cubby at school and in your car.
- Dress your child in layers to keep her warm and dry.
- Heat escapes from hands, feet and the head so keep them covered with gloves or mittens, water proof/resistant shoes.
- Be careful with scarves when your child is very young as they can become a choking hazard if caught on an object.
- When driving, do not place a blanket or heavy coat under car seat straps as the extra inches between the harness and your infant or child could cause her to slip out of the car seat.
- Store extra snacks, water, a flashlight and a blanket in your car in case of emergencies when driving.
Questions to ask your child care program:
- Under what weather circumstances will the child care program close?
- What is the protocol if severe weather (tornado watch, snow, flooding, etc.) happens during child care hours?
- If the school closes early due to weather, when and how will parents be notified?
- Does the child care program have regular weather safety drills?
- Will children go outside during cold weather?
- At what temperature or wind chill does the child care program keep children inside for playtime?
- What happens if the power goes out?
- How does winter weather affect the child care program’s transportation plans?
- Centers for Disease Control’s Ready Wrigley
- Department of Homeland Security’s Winter Storm/Extreme Cold
Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions your family will make. With more than 5,000 state licensed and monitored child care programs to choose from, begin your search at QualityRated.org or call (877) 255-4254 to let trusted experts help you.