As we enter into the last month of winter, many cities across the U.S. will see some of the coldest temperatures of the season. Although spring is within reach, winter weather this month can reach dangerously low temps putting children at risk of experiencing over-exposure that can result in frostbite or hypothermia. And it doesn’t take extended periods of time to be in danger. Hypothermia can happen in as little as 30 minutes at zero degrees Fahrenheit.[1]

Thirty minutes of play outdoors can fly by quickly and children are less likely to recognize their body temperature is dropping as a result of exposure, putting them at risk.  Typically parents are keenly aware of the risks bundling their children up before they go out, checking on them periodically, and limiting time outside during extreme temperatures. Where many tend to be lax on bundling children is when they are toting kids to the car for a quick trip or sending them out to the bus stop.

Although most children do not have to wait at the bus stop for 30 minutes each morning, keep in mind winter weather also causes hazardous road conditions and accidents that can delay the bus, leaving your child out in the cold longer than planned.

Whether playing outside, jumping in the car for a quick trip to the grocery, or heading to the bus stop, here are some tips to keeping your children warm and safe this winter:

  • Dress children in several thin layers to keep them dry and warm including warm boots, mittens, and a hat. Choose boots that are large enough to comfortably accommodate two pairs of socks.[2]
  • The rule of thumb for young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.[3]
  • Chose mittens instead of gloves. Mittens offer more warmth by allowing skin-to-skin contact.
  • Avoid cotton clothes and socks. Cotton holds moisture (sweat, snow, moist air) and loses its insulating properties making you feel even colder.
  • Invest in wool or polypropylene socks. Wool suspends moisture and can absorb 1/3 of its own weight before making you feel cold or wet.
  • Purchase hand and/or feet warmers to put in your child’s school bag. Let them know they can always use those in the event they are out longer than planned.
  • Be sure to feed children substantial meals regularly and encourage them to drink plenty of water to maintain optimal health.[4]

128 schools and 150k parents and students in the U.S. have chosen the Here Comes the Bus® app from Synovia Solutions, LLC, which shows the location of their child’s bus and even sends an alert when the bus is near. In addition, school districts can send customized messages, letting parents know when there is a bus delay or change in school hours. Now, parents have a tool to see whether the bus is running late, early or on time so they can better gauge when to send their child out in the cold.