Toddler Winter Fun, Safety Tips

If you live in a northern state, especially in the Midwest or northeast, winter is definitely here.  Brrrr!  So maybe you already have decided to just stay inside with your little one until daffodils pop through the snow, or maybe you’re waiting for memorial day.  If your child is warm and safe indoors, why go out?  Going outside in sunny cold weather, as long as the cold is not extreme, can still offer toddler winter fun.  Their circulation gets going even as they absorb essential nutrients like vitamin D. 

Dress Toddlers Warmly

Just make sure your baby is dressed warmly and is active while outdoors.  This includes a several layers of loose fitting clothing and a water resistant coverall or coat and pants.  Accessories should include a warm hat, neck and mouth covering, mittens or gloves and water resistant boots.  Now that your child is dressed, what will you do outside?

make a snowman

Fun Things to do in Winter With Toddlers

First idea for toddler winter fun is to make a snowman.  It doesn’t matter how big or small, making a snowman is any size fits all.  It’s fun, it’s easy for most ages, and you can do it in stages to give your little one warmup breaks, if needed. 

Fun Snow Construction

Build a snow fort or igloo.  Even a short walled fort is fun in a friendly snowball fight.  Sledding is another winter fun activity.  Many places have smaller hills especially for little ones to use.  Just grab your snow disc or sled, and hold onto your baby for the slippery slide downhill.  It is a simple classic pleasure that is non-stop fun.  If sliding downhill feels too much like a free fall for you, why not make a snow maze with your toddler.  It doesn’t have to be huge, but it sure is fun to play in after you make it.

Taking Toddler Winter Fun on the Road…or Trail.

Go visit a zoo, metro park or national park and go on a short winter hike.  Nature looks entirely different in winter than it did midsummer.  Share that discovery with your toddler.  Maybe you can help your child hand feed chickadees.  Take pictures to compare your path with pics you take next spring, summer and fall.  Got snow?  If you have snowshoes for the whole family, strap them on and watch the “sasquatch” tracks you make.  Better yet, cap off the day with a sleigh ride.  Dress everyone up warmly and enjoy the scenic trip over snow. 

Cabin fever in winter is pretty common, and we all need a little sunshine, even in winter months.  Just make sure everyone is dressed warmly and that you take breaks to avoid hypothermia or frostbite.

Staying Safe In Cold Weather

Hypothermia is defined as a core body temperature of less than or equal to 35C/95° F.  It is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures and is dangerous.  Why are we bringing this up?  It might surprise you to learn that according to the centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) newborns and babies are most vulnerable to hypothermia when they are inside, sleeping in a cold room.  It is the result of prolonged exposure to cool temperatures, especially when sleeping or inactive.   When your out having toddler winter fun, all of you are active, and less at risk of getting too cold.

Symptoms of Hypothermia

Hypothermia symptoms you see in babies is different from that of adults.  Bright red, cold skin and extremely low energy are signs your little one needs immediate medical attention and warmth.  Make sure their clothing and diaper is dry.  Wrap their entire body including neck and head in a warm blanket. 

Avoiding Hypothermia

Avoiding hypothermia in babies during extreme cold means dressing them in warm clothing like footed pajamas, one-piece wearable blankets or sleep sacks.  Try to keep a warm temperature inside your home, or stay elsewhere if you can’t heat your home.  If you are dealing with an emergency, use your body heat to warm the baby, but take precautions to prevent rolling on or smothering your baby.  Though it seems counter intuitive in a cold home situation, remove pillows or other soft bedding.  These can put your child at risk too. 

All of this is rare, but with winter storms sweeping through the northern states, it is important information to keep in mind, so your toddler winter fun stays safe. 

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