Winter Safety Tips

Winter is here and it’s time to get outside and enjoy some winter sports.  But it’s important to make sure that little ones (and not so little ones) are warm and safe playing outside.

How Cold is Too Cold?

When deciding how long kids (and adults!) can play outdoors safely, the wind chill factor is most important. Wind Chill is the term used to describe the rate of heat loss on the human body resulting from the combined effect of low temperature and wind.

Canadian Windchill Chart (PDF) (http://www.almanac.com/content/windchill-chart-canada)

Windchill Chart

NOAA Wind Chill Chart (http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ddc/?n=windchill#New)

New Wind Chill Chart
Temperature (F)

Calm 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 -5 -10 -15 -20 -25 -30 -35 -40 -45
5 36 31 25 19 13 7 1 -5 -11 -16 -22 -28 -34 -40 -46 -52 -57 -63
10 34 27 21 15 9 3 -4 -10 -16 -22 -28 -35 -41 -47 -53 -59 -66 -72
15 32 25 19 13 6 0 -7 -13 -19 -26 -32 -39 -45 -51 -58 -64 -71 -77
20 30 24 17 11 4 -2 -9 -15 -22 -29 -35 -42 -48 -55 -61 -68 -74 -81
25 29 23 16 9 3 -4 -11 -17 -24 -31 -37 -44 -51 -58 -64 -71 -78 -84
30 28 22 15 8 1 -5 -12 -19 -26 -33 -39 -46 -53 -60 -67 -73 -80 -87
35 28 21 14 7 0 -7 -14 -21 -27 -34 -41 -48 -55 -62 -69 -76 -82 -89
40 27 20 13 6 -1 -8 -15 -22 -29 -36 -43 -50 -57 -64 -71 -78 -84 -91
45 26 19 12 5 -2 -9 -16 -23 -30 -37 -44 -51 -58 -65 -72 -79 -86 -93
50 26 19 12 4 -3 -10 -17 -24 -31 -38 -45 -52 -60 -67 -74 -81 -88 -95
55 25 18 11 4 -3 -11 -18 -25 -32 -39 -46 -54 -61 -68 -75 -82 -89 -97
60 25 17 10 3 -4 -11 -19 -26 -33 -40 -48 -55 -62 -69 -76 -84 -91 -98
Frostbite occurs in 15 minutes or less

Keep this chart handy:

Green Zone

30°F / -1° C and warmer

Yellow Zone

20° to 30° F / -7° to -1° C

Red Zone

Below 20° F / -7° C

Great outdoor playing weatherLayer clothing
Hats and mitts
Offer water regularly to help regulate body temperature
Feel hands regularly
Take breaks every 40 minutes or so
Be cautious – limit time outdoors
Take breaks every 20 – 30 minutes
Watch for signs of chilling
Stay inside

Fun Sports by Age Group (all sports require appropriate safety equipment including a helmet)

Age Play/Sports They are Ready For Recommended Safety Gear*
All ages Playing in the snow •Water-repellent pants and jacket, or a snowsuit, with layers underneath (such as a turtleneck or thermal shirt covered by a sweater)
•Water-repellent gloves or mittens
•Cotton socks
•Hat
•Water-repellent boots
2-year-olds Skiing between your legs •Bike or ski helmet
3-year-olds Sledding with you (facing forward, not on stomach) •Bike or ski helmet
4-year-olds Skiing solo •Ski helmet (instead of a hat)
•Long underwear
•Goggles/sunglasses with UV protection, depending on the weather
Ice skating (1/2 size smaller than shoes for supportive fit) •Knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards, especially for beginners
5- to 8-year-olds Ice hockey •Elbow pads
•Shin and knee guards
•Shoulder and chest pads
•Padded hockey shorts
•Hockey helmet with face mask
•Mouthpiece
•Hockey gloves
9-year-olds Snowboarding •Knee pads
•Wrist guards
•Padded shorts (“butt pads”)
•Snowboard helmet (instead of a hat)

*Check with local authorities or coaches for up-to-date and accurate recommended safety equipment.

Adapted from an article by Deborah Skolnik

 

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