When you are the parent of a toddler the safety of your child is a constant concern.  The winter months offer a variety of challenges for the parents of toddlers.  Whether you are staying toasty-warm inside or outside enjoying the weather with your child there are some steps you can to prepare for and even prevent wintertime dangers. When you are the parent of a toddler the safety of your child is a constant concern.  The winter months offer a variety of challenges for the parents of toddlers.  Whether you are staying toasty-warm inside or outside enjoying the weather with your child there are some steps you can to prepare for and even prevent wintertime dangers.

Outdoor Safety Risks:

  • Frostbite and hypothermia- Children aren’t as efficient at regulating their body temperature as adults.  They tend to lose body heat more quickly and don’t recognize when they are in danger.  To protect your toddler from the effects of the winter weather dress your child in layers.  Hats, coats, scarves, mittens and waterproof boots will help keep your child’s body, head, little fingers and toes warm.  Make sure that wet clothes and mittens are quickly exchanged for dry ones.  Put a time limit on the amount of time your toddlers spends outdoors, and bring them in frequently to warm up.
  • Falls- Toddlers are still in the early stages of walking and are prone to falls, even on the best of surfaces.  Salt icy sidewalks and driveways to melt them or use sand for extra traction.  Dress your toddler in shoes with non-skid soles.  
  • Sporting Injuries- While engaging in any outdoor activities, like sledding supervise your child at all times.  Also be sure that your child is wearing protective equipment intended for a toddler’s smaller size.
  • Car Safety- Winter driving can be especially hazardous.  It is best to be prepared for any emergency.  Keep a winter safety kit in the trunk of your car.  In addition to jumper cables, an ice scraper, sand and a shovel consider packing blankets, snacks, formula, diapers and several changes of clothing.  With each trip be sure to take plenty of water for each passenger in the car.  Remember; do not leave your toddler alone in the car for any length of time. 

Indoors Safety Risks:

  • Fire/Carbon Monoxide- As the weather turns cold, we tend to seal our homes up tightly and turn heating sources up.  This creates an increased risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.  Both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be placed outside of the bedrooms and on each floor of the home.  Check monthly for proper functioning and change the batteries regularly.
  • Storms- Many people have found themselves trapped in their homes for days on end due to severe winter storms.  When stocking up on supplies it’s important keep your toddler’s special needs in mind as well.  Keep an emergency stock of diapers, blankets, warm clothing, toddler friendly snacks, drinks and food.  
  • Cold & Flu Threats- The cold and flu not only makes children miserable, they can also put a toddler at risk of developing more severe health problems.  Immunizations and frequent hand washing can reduce the risk of your child developing a serious illness.  Be cautious with anti-microbial hand gels as they contain alcohol, which can be easily absorbed by your child if they put their hands in their mouths.

With a little forward planning and a bit of caution, the winter months can be an enjoyable and exciting time to share with your toddler.