Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs Newsline - SIDS


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December 10, 2013


Children's winter safety tips

Winter weather causes safety concerns for infants and children, so special precautions should be taken to protect them from the elements.

Protecting infants and children from winter weather calls for safety precautions recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Marthe dela Cruz, assistant professor of pediatrics at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, explains the suggestions.

“We recommend that children going outside in the wintertime dress warmly in several light layers as opposed to dressing in one thicker layer.  It will help to insulate them better. Also make sure they are covering the exposed layers of skin. They should be wearing gloves as well as a hat and a scarf.”

Dr. dela Cruz says the biggest concerns for children playing outside in cold weather are hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia occurs when the child’s body temperature falls below a normal level due to exposure to cold temperatures. 

“Some early signs of hypothermia may be shivering. And at that time, I would definitely recommend the children come inside and warm up. If they are getting lethargic or drowsy, that means something more serious, and you may want to consider calling your doctor or 911.”

Dr. dela Cruz says frostbite can occur when the skin and outer tissue areas become frozen.  It can happen first to the fingers, toes, nose and ears. The skin becomes pale or gray and blistered.  The frostbitten areas need to be warmed slowly in warm water. If the numbness or tingling sensation lasts more than five minutes, you should see your primary care physician.

Ruth Slottag

Phone 217-545-8000
P.O. Box 19620
Springfield, IL 62794-9620
The mission of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health care needs through education, patient care, research, and service to the community.


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