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Tips to Keep Kids Safe, Warm During Winter
Date:1/19/2013

SATURDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to ice, snow and freezing temperatures can be dangerous for kids.

While kids enjoy winter sports and play in the snow, an expert advised their parents to be on the lookout for two dangerous winter conditions: frostbite and hypothermia, when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees F.

"These occur more frequently in children because their bodies are different. They have larger heads and large body surface area compared to their body mass, which leads to rapid heat loss," Dr. Tony Pangan, a pediatrician at Loyola University Health System, said in a system news release. "Compared to adults, they just don't have as much energy reserves to burn when it comes to being cold. This is particularly true for babies who are unable to shiver to generate heat."

While they are having fun outside, children may also not realize that they are getting too cold, noted Pangan, also an assistant professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

"Kids love to be outside, but they also are more vulnerable to cold weather than adults," he said. "Most kids won't notice changes in their bodies related to cold exposure. As a parent, your goal should be to be prepared and equipped to help kids have safe winter fun."

To ensure that children are safe while playing outside during the winter months, Pangan offered the following tips:

  • 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 kep
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