Winter safety tips help you enjoy cold weather

Don’t let winter’s long, cold months be an excuse for staying indoors. By following a few simple winter safety tips, your family can avoid winter hazards while enjoying outdoor activities throughout the season.

Whether playing in the snow, sledding with friends or warming up once back inside, winter can bring lots of family fun. Use the links below to learn about the potential risks and ways to minimize the chance of injury. You’ll find tips for everything from how to dress for the weather and safely heat your home to traveling in icy conditions.

Winter safety tips and resources

Dressing for winter weather

Exposure to the cold brings with it many risks, especially for children who are not as good at regulating their body temperature as adults. To avoid the risks of frostnip, frostbite, or hypothermia it is important to dress appropriately for the weather.

  • Frostnip is an early warning sign of frostbite that leaves the skin temporarily red and numb. You can treat it at home, by bringing your child indoors to warm them up.
  • Frostbite occurs when the skin becomes frozen. It tends to happen on fingers, toes, ears and nose and can be a serious condition that may require medical attention.
  • Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can create it, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Children are susceptible to it when they are playing outdoors in extreme cold, especially if their clothes get wet. As hypothermia sets in, your child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy with slurred speech. If you suspect hypothermia, call 911 at once.

When planning to head outdoors with your infant or child, get an early start. Dressing appropriately takes extra time with children. Check the temperature and limit your time outdoors, especially when it’s very cold, wet or windy.

Winter travel tips

Before heading out on winter travel, check the weather forecast. Conditions vary from place to place, and a few degrees difference in temperature can change precipitation from rain to ice or snow. Bulky clothing, including winter coats and snowsuits, should not be worn underneath seatbelts or the harness of a car seat. In a car crash, fluffy padding in a coat immediately flattens out from the force, leaving extra space under the seatbelt harness and putting the occupant at increased risk of injury and ejection.

Home safety in cold weather

Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. According to the National Fire Protection Association, half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February. Never leave heating appliances unattended or use them while sleeping. Always remember to keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.