Thinking About Winter Safety For Kids


Many parents who had a childhood environment that brimmed with bountiful snow storms each year often marvel at the idea of providing the identical whimsical winter they experienced down to their children. We are excited about the prospect of seeing them fly down their first sledding hill, flop down on the ground to make snow angels, and sculpt an igloo from fresh powder.

However, we need to remember that weather patterns have changed significantly. Snow storms, ice storms, and winter temperatures are more severe than they've ever been before. Families within vulnerable populations are particularly sensitive to these changes and are at a higher risk of climate-related health impacts. With every passing winter, it's becoming increasingly vital to be aware of and implement winter safety for our children.

Don't worry! Our contemporary predicament does not entail an elimination of all outdoor winter activities! In fact, outdoor activities can create opportunities to engage in high-sensory and high-energy stimulation; these aspects are particularly significant in the winter (see our blog about Winter Blues). Essentially, our children need to stimulate their bodies and experience the outdoors when given the opportunity! Therefore, it’s better to navigate winter’s challenges than to potentially jeopardize our children’s mental or physical health.

Of course, winter does not look the same in every place! For some, winter is more hot or wet. Regardless, we want to suggest these general winter safety tips for those who may travel to or live in a colder, snow-covered area. Follow these tips to balance mindful caution with indelible winter memories below.


Children are more susceptible to frostnip and frostbite than adults. Their bodies deplete heat at a higher pace than we do. The best way to reduce these risks is to balance the duration of time outside with utilizing clothing layers. 

Clothing layers should always correlate with the temperature; use more layers if it's colder. In addition, layers help repel any sogginess or wetnesswhich could accelerate their internal temperature. If your child gets wet from snow or freezing rain, they can simply peel off a layer. Remember to keep their heads, necks, and hands covered. Also, try to think about these clothing materials:

-Wool (usually warmer than cotton).
-Waterproof pants and jackets (for the outer layers).
-To target frostbite, ensure there are gloves or mittens, socks, and warm boots.


Often, it can be difficult to check in with your child when they're overflowing with adrenaline and having fun; they may want to continue playing despite their coldness and wetness. However, try to communicate what you can. Before they head outside, remind them to come inside if they get too wet or cold. They should know that when coldness becomes distressing, that's their cue that it's, "time to go inside."

In addition, communicating these cues will help create a space where your kids have a place to go for regular indoor breaks. These breaks can help circulate warmth and ensure reasonable limits on the duration spent outdoors. 

Be Practical and Proactive

There are a diverse number of winter outdoor activities: sledding, skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, and ice hockey. For any activity your child partakes in, ensure they're adequately trained and equipped. All children need to wear helmets during these activities. Also, to prevent any injuries, teach your child how to accurately conduct the activity safely; this aspect can be particularly beneficial because it can build your child's confidence and foster independence!

Remind yourself that it's okay to play it safe sometimes as well. Although roads are usually closed during snow storms, it's still not always safe to play or sled in the street. Visibility may impaired as a result of snowbanks and ice on the roadswhich can make braking difficult.

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