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Snow day safety

Keep wintertime fun and injury-free

Photo: FatCamera/iStockphoto

Sledding, ice skating and playing in the snow aren’t just fun – they’re good exercise and a great reason to head outdoors during the winter. But remember: Safety first.

Ready? Get started by following some expert advice.

Layer up

The American Academy of Pediatrics says parents and caregivers should dress kids in several thin layers before taking them outside. This keeps them dry and warm, and reduces the risk of frostbite and hypothermia. Boots, gloves or mittens, and a winter hat are musts.

Lois Lee, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Boston Children’s Hospital and president of the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, says a rule of thumb is to dress kids in one layer more than what an adult would wear under similar weather conditions.

“Layering is also important because if they’re playing outside, they may start to feel warm, and so they can take off a layer if they need to,” Lee said.

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Here comes the sun

Although removing a layer can help keep you from feeling too warm, it also can increase your exposure to the sun – which can get even more intense when its rays reflect off snow.

Brooks Jordan, an experienced parks and recreation professional and a district manager for Wyoming State Parks, says it’s common for winter outdoor fun-seekers to forget about applying sunscreen to exposed skin. Sunscreen provides equal protection in the winter months – even if you’re squeezing some from the tube that’s been lying around since summer.

“It’s better to use what you have than nothing at all,” Jordan said.

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