Help Your Children Avoid Frostbite this Winter


Help your children avoid frostbite this winter by dressing them in layers and making sure the most vulnerable parts are protected — the fingers, toes, ears and nose. Teach your children to come inside when they start to feel cold.

Frostbite occurs when your child’s skin becomes frozen. It can turn gray and feel numb. It might even blister or feel like it is burning.

If you believe your child has frostbite, place the affected area in warm water (approximately 99 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-30 minutes). Make sure the water is not hot, as that can make the situation even worse. Never use heating pads or heat lamps, as they can cause burns. You might apply warm cloths to your child’s nose, ears and lips if they have become frostbitten. Do not rub the frozen areas.

After the frozen areas feel warmer, dry them with a clean towel and cover your child to keep him or her warm. If soreness or numbness continues, call your doctor.

If your child is shivering intensely, begins slurring his or her speech, becomes sleepy or loses coordination, he or she may have hypothermia. This is a medical emergency. Get help right away.

For more tips on winter safety, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics at www.aap.org.

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