We wouldn't trade our kids in, but finding ways to cope with winter and small children would make the season easier on everyone.
It's too bad children can't grow an extra layer of fur like animals and be ready to go outside when the temperatures drop, because by the time we are done stuffing them into snowsuits, hats, mittens and assorted what-not they are going to have to go to the bathroom anyway.
If you're like most parents with small children, it wasn't until the first snowfall that you even began looking for snow boots. There's certainly more than one parent out there who has put two pairs of socks on their children and told them to wiggle their toes to stay warm, at least until payday.
Parents need tips not just to save kids' extremities, but also to save time, money on doctor bills and loss of hair.
The first thing to remember is that children are not little adults, they have different requirements.
Dr. Alex Russell, a pediatrician in Soldotna, has some basic rules of thumb to keep your child healthy this time of year:
Temperatures that an adult can tolerate are not necessarily ones that young children should endure. Temperatures even in the low 20s can cause tissue damage in children if they come into surface contact with cold objects. You know the old joke about daring someone to stick their tongue on the flag pole? It happens; it's important to remind your child about cold weather safety rules.
Outer extremities of children chill easily, making mittens a better choice over gloves since the fingers can help warm each other up.
Protecting young lungs is important. When transporting babies outside make sure to cover their heads. The blanket acts as a filtering system between the cold air and the baby's lungs. However, make sure there is enough air space and that it is not for a extended period of time.
When preparing to go outside, resist the urge to dress children first. Waiting until the last moment will ensure that they won't begin to sweat. Once outside, the sweat will make them chilled no matter how many layers they have on.
It is a myth that winter causes colds. While there is a cold and flu season, colds and other respiratory viruses are passed on more easily in the winter from being inside with recirculated air and a closer proximity to others rather than the cold weather.
Getting a child who is old enough to tolerate the cold outside a little bit every day in winter is a great way to keep them healthy.
Children's diets should not have to be changed for winter, as long as they are getting fresh fruit and vegetables.
While people usually associate dehydration with summer and sweating, many children end up with cracked lips and headaches in the winter from lack of fluids.
What's a parent to do if after their best efforts their child still gets sick?
"If your child is still eating and drinking and the child's fever is not over 100 degrees, it is OK to wait it out," said Dr. Russell. "However, if the fever is persistently over 101 degrees and is accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea and the child does not eat or drink, he or she should be examined by the family's health-care provider."
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