Exposure to cold without adequate protection can result in frostbite. Parents can protect their children by following these precautions:
- Dress children warmly. Several thin layers will help keep children dry as well as warm. Clothing should consist of thermal long johns, turtlenecks, one or two shirts, pants, sweater, coat, warm socks, boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat.
- Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play. Call children in periodically to warm up with drinks such as hot chocolate.
- When possible, avoid taking infants outdoors when it is colder than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Infants lose body heat quickly.
If a child complains of numbness or pain in the fingers, toes, nose, cheeks or ears while playing in the snow, or if his skin is blistered, hard to the touch or glossy, be alerted to the possibility of frostbite and take the following steps:
- Take the child indoors.
- Call a doctor.
- Tell the child to wiggle the affected body part(s) to increase blood supply to that area.
- Warm the frozen part(s) against the body. Hold fingers to the chest, for example.
- Immerse frozen part(s) in warm, not hot, water. Frozen tissue is fragile and can be damaged easily. Avoid warming with high heat from radiators, fireplaces or stoves, and avoid rubbing or breaking blisters.