The talk of the town this week is, of course, the extreme weather. So with all the days the kids are likely to be home from school, will it be safe to send them outside to play?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 1,260 people die each year from being out in the frigid temperatures. We also know that outdoor play is beneficial to our children, and we want them to not only be able to enjoy the snow, but also to get exercise and fresh air. So how cold, exactly, is TOO cold to go outdoors?
As a rule of thumb, you should use the wind chill as the determining factor. When the wind chill is 32 degrees and above, it is safe to play outdoors. When it is 13 degrees to 31 degrees, kids should come indoors for breaks every 20-30 minutes. For wind chills 13 degrees and below, play should be moved indoors to prevent frostbite.
Keep in mind that children and especially babies are more sensitive to the cold temperatures than adults and can develop hypothermia quickly. If you are taking a baby out in the cold, dressing him or her in layers is key. But be careful not to over-do it, or they will become overheated, which is also very dangerous! As a general rule of thumb, your baby should be dressed in one more layer than you feel comfortable in. If you are comfortable in a long sleeved shirt, your baby should probably be wearing a long sleeved onesie plus another shirt on top of it.
Adults and kids alike need to dress appropriately when heading outdoors. Keep as much skin covered as possible to avoid frostbite! Refer to this chart provided by the National Weather Service regarding windchill and frostbite times. Stay safe!