Winter Safety Tips for Parents and Daycare Facilities

By Michelle Jorge and Sadaf Tahriri

As temperatures continue to drop throughout Canada, forcing a deep freeze and leading Environment Canada to issue an extreme cold warning, it is important that children are protected from the dangers of winter weather and winter activities.

Parents and daycare facilities are reminded that when children are playing outside, they should regularly be checked on to ensure that they are warm, dry, and that they are not suffering from frost bite. It is vital that children have gloves or mittens and hats that cover their ears to avoid frost bite. Additionally, children should always wear warm clothes, including wool type fabrics that retain heat, unlike cotton. Sunscreen is also highly recommended, as snow reflects UV rays, and can cause sunburn. Parents should always send their children to school or daycare with an extra pair of gloves or mittens, and socks should they get wet.

Importantly, children should be warned about the dangers of playing in snow and should always be properly supervised to ensure their safety and security. Children should be reminded never to run across the street and always be careful when crossing the roads as roads may be slippery, making it more difficulty for motorists to bring their vehicles to a complete stop. Children should also refrain from playing near roads and snow banks, as snow plows may not see them, creating a potentially dangerous situation. Children should also avoid snow forts, as they could collapse, becoming quite hazardous.

When taking part in outdoor winter activities, including skating, skiing, or sledding, parents are reminded to ensure that their children are equipped with CSA approved hockey helmets which, unlike bicycle helmets, are tested for freezing weather conditions.

Finally, as colds and flus become more prevalent during the winter season, it is vital that toys and surfaces are regularly sanitized and disinfected to avoid spreading germs and viruses. However, it is imperative that products are kid-safe, and bleach free.

Should a child suffer from a cold or flu most daycare facilities implement policies requiring that they stay home until their symptoms clear up in an effort to avoid spreading the virus to other children.

As Ontario braces itself for a cold and snowy winter season, parents and daycare providers are reminded to be safe, and have fun!

Acknowledgements to Sadaf Tahriri, student at-law with Jewell Radimisis Jorge LLP, for the research efforts and co-writing of this blog post.

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