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Cold, Ice, and Snow Safety

Winter isn't a time to just stay indoors and wait for spring. There's a whole wonderland of sports out there for the entire family and someone has to shovel the snow, right?

Follow these tips to keep safe outdoors in cold weather.

Enjoying Cold Weather Safely

When you go outside in the cold, stay safe — and warm. Kids should dress warmly in layers of clothes. Layers keep the warmth in. Plus, if the top layer gets wet from snow or freezing rain, they can peel off some clothes down to a dry layer. Use more layers the colder it is outside.


  • Wool is often warmer than cotton.
  • Waterproof pants and jackets can help keep kids dry.
  • A hat will help kids keep warm.
  • Protect your kids' faces with sunscreen. Snow can reflect most of the sun's ultraviolet rays, making sunburn in the snow a real risk.
  • Wear gloves or mittens, socks, and warm boots to help avoid frostbite.

Kids are at greater risk for frostnip and frostbite than adults. The best way to prevent it is to make sure they're dressed warmly and don't spend too much time in extreme weather.

Frostnip is an early warning sign. It leaves the skin red and numb or tingly. Bring your child inside, and remove all wet clothing because it draws heat from the body. Immerse the chilled body parts in warm (not hot) water for about 20–30 minutes.

Frostbite happens mostly on fingers, toes, ears, noses, and cheeks. The area becomes very cold and turns white or yellowish gray. If you notice frostbite, take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.

There's no set amount of time kids should be allowed to stay out in the cold. But they should know that when being cold becomes unpleasant, it's time to go inside. Sometimes, kids may just need some dry gloves. Put an extra pair of gloves or mittens in their pockets if they plan to be outdoors for a while.

What Else Should I Know?

To help kids to enjoy winter sports, make sure they know to safely enjoy:

Going on a road trip in winter weather? Make sure you have a first-aid kit, extra blankets, and gloves in the car.

Reviewed by: Melanie L. Pitone, MD
Date Reviewed: Dec 1, 2022

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