JOHNSTON: Playing safely in the snow

We had our first official snowfall.

This Florida girl is still fascinated by the snow. Waking up to the fluffy white blanket covering the ground makes me very happy, especially when I can look at it from indoors.

My children, however, believe the white stuff is cooler to play in than just look at. We definitely differ in this opinion.

They were disappointed on Monday when the snow melted before virtual school was over, but the snow stuck around on Tuesday, and they were outside for the majority of the afternoon once completing their classes.

No worries, I didn’t venture outside with them. I did make sure they were prepared for the snowball fights and the meager attempt at sledding.

Here are a few tips I followed to make their snowy ventures safe.

Shonda Johnston is the Clark County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences.

Dress in layers

During the winter, you want to dress in layers to stay warm. You can always take layers off. Dressing warmly is important from our heads to our toes.

This is a battle with my kiddos, as they think they can put on a light jacket and they’ll be fine. Wrong.

Put a hat on your head. Body heat can leave our body if we do not have our heads covered. A scarf, face mask and earmuffs also help keep our heads warm.

Start with a long-sleeved shirt, add a sweater and a winter coat.

For your legs, start with long underwear and add a heavy pair of pants. Waterproof pants, like ski pants, work best when playing outside.

Keep your toes warm with heavy socks and waterproof boots.

Do not forget mittens or gloves. Fingers are sensitive to the cold, so it is best to use waterproof gloves when playing around in the snow.

 

Drink warm drinks

It is easy to forget about drinking water in the winter, but when it is cold outside, we lose a lot of our body’s water through our breath.

After sledding with friends, have a warm drink to keep you hydrated and heat you back up from being cold.

I kept a kettle of hot water on the stove for when the kiddos came in so they could have some hot chocolate to rehydrate and warm up, marshmallows included of course.

 

Take a break

It is easy to lose track of time when playing in the snow. However, we need to take breaks from the cold and warm up inside to keep our bodies safe.

If you get too cold, your teeth might start chattering or your body will shiver. If this happens, be sure to take a break from the snow and go inside.

Warm up while playing a game or watching TV, and then head back outside for more fun.

Hopefully these tips will help you and your family play it safe in the snow. By wearing heavy clothes, socks and mittens and taking breaks inside when needed, you can enjoy a snowball fight or building a snowman the next time we get the pretty snowy covering.

If you would like more information about winter safety, contact the Clark County Extension Office. Stay warm.

Shonda Johnston is the Clark County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. She can be reached at 859-744-4682 or by email at shonda.johnston@uky.edu.