NEWBERRY COUNTY — Even though Newberry is not prone to blizzard style weather, the recent cold snap means parents need to dress children appropriately to reduce illnesses and trips to the doctor or school nurse.
While temperatures are expected to reach above 50 F, the weather can change quickly so it’s a good idea to know how to dress children warmly.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips for dressing children warmly in winter:
— Dress infants and children warmly for outdoor activities. Several thin layers will keep them dry and warm. Don’t forget warm boots, gloves or mittens and a hat. The layers also allow them to cool down if necessary.
— The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.
— Blankets, quilts, pillows, bumpers, sheepskins and other loose bedding may contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and should be kept out of an infant’s sleeping environment. Sleep clothing like one-piece sleepers or wearable blankets is preferred.
— If a blanket must be used to keep a sleeping infant warm, it should be tucked in around the crib mattress, reaching only as far as your baby’s chest, so the infant’s face is less likely to become covered by bedding materials.
When going outside, children should also take certain precautions depending on how cold it is or what the conditions are. The Department of Health and Human Services offers these tips for children when playing outside:
— Children should dress in layers so moisture can be kept away from the skin. Wet layers should be taken off so children stay warm and dry.
— Dress children in fleece, wool or other fabrics that will help keep moisture away from the skin. Avoid cotton clothes, which will not insulate once they absorb moisture.
— Make sure children wear a hat, which is key to retaining up to 60 percent of their body heat.
— Vulnerable extremities, such as the ears, nose, hands and feet, should always be covered and kept as warm as possible to avoid frostbite.
— Take breaks. Make sure kids come inside periodically so they can warm up.
— Once inside, children should immediately remove wet clothing and warm up.
When it comes to health during winter, the American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips:
— If your child suffers from winter nosebleeds, try using a cold air humidifier in the child’s room at night. Saline nose drops or petrolatum may help keep nasal tissues moist. If bleeding is severe or recurrent, consult your pediatrician.
— Many pediatricians feel that bathing two or three times a week is enough for an infant’s first year. More frequent baths may dry out the skin, especially during the winter.
— Cold weather does not cause colds or flu. But the viruses that cause colds and flu tend to be more common in the winter, when children are in school and are in closer contact with each other. Frequent hand washing and teaching your child to sneeze or cough into the bend of her elbow may help reduce the spread of colds and flu.
— Children 6 months of age and up should get the influenza vaccine to reduce their risk of catching the flu.
Also, sunscreen should still be used in winter to protect children from the sun despite being covered more.