For many in the Gulf South, cooler weather is a welcome treat after a long, hot summer. For parents, an incoming cold front may bring questions along with it.
Grant Clinkingbeard, MD, pediatrician with Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health in Covington, shares tips for parents about how to keep kids safe and warm in colder weather and during holiday travel.
Holiday Travel Safety
As you are getting ready to go for a drive on a cold winter day, remember these tips for cold weather car safety:
- Do not dress your children in bulky clothes or puffy jackets prior to placing them in the car seat. Puffy or loose-fitting clothes can cause straps to fit loosely and may allow a child to be insecurely restrained in the case of an accident.
- A blanket or coat can be placed over the straps of a car seat once the child is secured to ensure they stay warm.
- Removable infant car seats should be brought inside if cold weather is expected. This will allow for a warmer car seat and minimize the amount of heat transfer from your child to the car seat.
- Make a point to start your car early. This is not only good for your engine, but allowing the heater to run can also make for a more comfortable and warmer ride for the whole family.
- Always make informed decisions regarding whether you should go out in cold weather. Check news and weather apps for freeze warnings to be sure that roads are safe for you and your family.
For more winter car safety tips, see “Winter Car Seat Safety Tips from the AAP.”
Heater and Fire Safety
A drop in temperature means an increased need for ways to keep warm. Fireplaces and heaters are cozy, but they can be dangerous if not used properly. Keep these tips in mind:
- Keep young children away from fireplaces and fire pits to avoid burns from contact with hot components or flying embers
- Prior to lighting a fire, be sure the chimney is clear and the flue is open
- Never go to bed with an active fire burning
- Keep a fire extinguisher on-hand, just in case
- Keep young children away from space heaters, as they can cause significant burns if touched
- Never use extension cords with a space heater
- Keep space heaters on solid surfaces to avoid them tipping over
- Never leave a space heater unattended
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