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Western Montana cold prompts frostbite prevention reminder

Cold School Kids
Posted at 8:47 AM, Oct 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-29 16:20:59-04

MISSOULA — Parents are being reminded to keep their kids bundled up when they head outside as we head into a week of bitter winds and record breaking lows.

While you might think you’re good to go when you send them out the door in boots, gloves, and a hooded jacket, Dr. Courtney Hathaway with Community Medical Center suggests that basic winter gear doesn’t always stand up to frostbite.

According to Dr. Hathaway, kids are much more susceptible to cold injuries when compared to adults. She explained that children have a lower circulating blood volume and their body mass is distributed differently, causing them to lose more heat through their head and their extremities.

Considering the amount of time kids spend waiting at bus stops and playing outside, gloves and socks can become substantially damp and cold. Dr. Hathaway offers a few remedies for this issue.

“If you can have waterproof shoes on or a change of socks or even a change of shoes that they can put on when they get to school, that’s super helpful for their feet," Dr. Hathaway said.

She also recommends children also have waterproof gloves and wear a hat as opposed to a hood. Hathaway noted that even parents who pay extra attention to how their kids are dressed for the cold can still make one simple and common mistake.

“It gets tricky for parents this time of year because you want them bundled up, you want them in those nice big coats when they’re out playing or going to and from the bus stop, but when they're in their car seats they shouldn’t have big puffy layers on," she said.

Taking off layers before placing babies and toddlers into car seats ensures that their harness will fit properly. Dr. Hathaway suggests placing the winter coat over the car seat harness after your kids are strapped in.

Dr. Hathaway also says that a good rule of thumb when getting kids ready for school in the morning is to dress them in one extra layer than you would need to be comfortable outside.