In just a couple of weeks more, the first snow of the year will begin to fall. Though the elements during winter can be harsh, it does not mean the fun should be taken out of the equation. Let us learn more about how we can keep our families safe as we enjoy the winter outdoors during the coming months.
Winter Can Be Dangerous
The low temperature during winter can be intolerable and, at the same time, dangerous. Exposing one’s self to cold temperature for a prolonged amount of time can lead to hypothermia. What makes hypothermia extremely hazardous is that you can have it without you knowing.
While the indoors could provide warmth from the harsh outdoor environment, it could expose anyone with asthma to indoor air pollutants. Apart from that, the sedentary habits that people develop during cold months could make them susceptible to different diseases.
The cold winter air could also easily dry out one’s skin, resulting in rashes and eczema. In some cases, people develop Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD). It is a type of depression that usually starts during fall and lingers through winter. The usual treatment for this is light therapy.
Safety Tips for Winter Outdoor Activities
Besides the natural environmental hazards that the cold season presents, winter outdoor activities also bring unique perils that parents should be mindful of.
Check the Weather Forecast Beforehand
The weather during winter could fall instantly. Before heading outside, be sure to verify the temperature and precipitation forecast for you to adequately prepare your clothing and gears in case the temperature suddenly drops.
Without enough layers of clothes, the cold winter wind could strip out all the heat that is insulating your body. Also, driving during a heavy snowfall could be dangerous. Layers of snow on the road makes it extremely slippery, making your vehicle easily lose control.
Dress in Layers
Wearing clothes in layers during winter helps your body not feel too warm or cold. It is not good to put on too many layers of clothes during the cold season. Your body might start sweating, which could cause you to feel cold as your seat vaporizes.
Clothes made with polypropylene material are a good choice as the first layer to put on as it helps absorb sweat off your skin. To add insulation to keep yourself warm, materials made of fleece or wool is ideal as your second layer of clothing.
For the outer layer, waterproof but breathable materials are highly recommended. Also, waterproof boots are a great choice for footwear to keep your feet from getting cold and wet. Gloves, ear muffs, and head covering should also be worn outside.
Wear Protective Gear
When playing outdoor winter sports, always wear protective gear and follow safety protocols. With thick layers of snow covering the ground, you will never know if there are hidden hazards. Hence, it is better to remain alert at all times.
When snowboarding or skiing, never forget to wear a protective helmet like the Giro ski helmet. Wear goggles and apply a generous amount of sunscreen on your skin that is exposed. Even during winter, you could get sunburnt.
Furthermore, you should know your limits and not push yourself to try out difficult obstacles if you have not skied or snowboard for a while. As with the other winter sports, such as ice skating and sledding, wear protective gear and follow safety protocols.
Just because it is winter doesn’t mean your body does not lose water from outdoor activities. Same with the health guidelines you follow during summer outdoor activities, you need to stay hydrated.
Although it can be tough having to down chilly water when you are already cold, keep in mind that hydration is important. To avoid your beverage from freezing, invest in a thermos or an insulating sleeve.
Do Not Venture Out Alone
It is never a good idea to go hiking alone, more so during winter. With everything appearing snowy all around you, you can easily get disoriented and lost. Moreover, if an accident happens, you could easily die before anyone could find you.
Before heading out, keep in mind to inform someone where you are going and what time you will get back. Even better, have someone accompany you with your outdoor activity. Stock enough essential and emergency items on your car and backpack just in case you’ll need them.
The winter weather should not hold you back from having an active lifestyle. By following these easy tips on safety, you will surely have a fun and secured winter outdoor excursion.