AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) —The winter temperatures are starting to arrive in the panhandle, and that means we need to keep children safe and warm this season.

Dr. Teresa Baker from the InfantRisk Center at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Amarillo has some tips to keep our babies safe and warm.

Dress kids in several thin layers and make sure they have warm boots, gloves and a hat. The rule of thumb is to dress older babies and young children in one more layer than an adult would wear.

When sleeping, make sure your baby has blankets, quilts, and pillows outside of the sleeping environment. If a blanket must be used make sure it’s thin and tucked under the crib mattress and only covers as far up as the baby’s chest.

When it comes to kids being outside in the freezing temperatures, there are some conditions to be aware of and monitor.

Hypothermia develops when a child’s temperature falls below normal due to exposure to colder temperatures. It often happens when a child is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing or when clothes get wet. It can occur more quickly in children than in adults. As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy. Speech may become slurred and body temperature will decline in more severe cases. If you suspect your child is hypothermic, call 911 at once. Until help arrives, take the child indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him in blankets or warm clothes.

Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen. This condition tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, toes, ears and nose. They may become pale, gray and blistered. At the same time, the child may complain that his/her skin burns or has become numb. If frostbite occurs, bring the child indoors and place the frostbitten parts of her body in warm (not hot) water. 104° Fahrenheit (about the temperature of most hot tubs) is recommended. Warm washcloths may be applied to frostbitten nose, ears and lips. Do not rub the frozen areas. After a few minutes, dry and cover the child with clothing or blankets. Give him/her something warm to drink. If the numbness continues for more than a few minutes, call your doctor.

InfantRisk Center
At Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
1 (806) 352-2519