How to prepare for winter storms
Snow days can mean no work and more play.
Police officers and medical professionals want you to keep safety in mind before heading outside.
If you’re planning for some outdoor activity, here are some safety tips.
Watch your step
One of the most common winter injuries are head injuries that can result from falls in icy conditions.
Approximately 25,000 Americans sprain an ankle every day, according to MultiCare. That’s more likely to do so when there’s snow, ice, or frost on the ground.
Debris and uneven ground can hide beneath snow. Keeping an eye on your surroundings and watching where you step when outdoors can help prevent a trip to the emergency room.
Also watch your step indoors, as tracking snow inside can often lead to wet floors.
Don’t sled on roadways
Avoid hills that end in a street, parking lot, trees, ponds, fences or other hazards, warns kidsheath.org.
Choose hills that are snowy rather than icy, which can make it difficult to come to a stop. Always sled in areas with good lighting.
Also avoid areas with parked vehicles. Police have seen injuries result from people sliding into them.
“If people want to sled, don’t sled on the roadways,” Puyallup police spokesman Ryan Portmann said.
Dress in layers
Layers are your friend. Wear many of them — snug, but not tight. Space between your layers can help trap your body heat and keep you warm.
Use hats, gloves and socks to keep extremities warm, recommends pediatricians from Caring for Kids. Be wary of loose scarves that can get caught during activity.
Avoid getting wet and remove wet clothing for dry clothing as soon as possible. Waterproof boots are recommended.
Don’t be outside alone or for too long
It’s important for kids to take regular breaks when playing in the snow. Breaks are recommended every 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the temperature and how much skin is exposed. Warm drinks are recommended during the break.
Children shouldn’t play in the snow alone outside, either. Establish a buddy system and stay close to a “warm shelter” — your home or the home of a friend.
It’s also recommended not to eat snow, which can be dirty.
Know the warning signs
Worried about hypothermia or frostbite?
The most common body parts for frostbite are cheeks, ears, nose, fingers and toes, according to Caring for Kids. Skin first gets red and swollen and can sting or burn. When frozen, skin becomes white and has no feeling.
Warning signs of hypothermia include shivering, slurred speech, shallow breathing and confusion or memory loss.
Active games, such as snow angels or building snowmen keeps the body moving and warm.
Urgent care availability
If an injury does occur, urgent care centers are still open for business, but hours may vary due to the weather.