Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Frozen: Staying Safe in Cold Weather!

image courtesy of Suat Eman/
Frigid winter air is on its way, and that means more time hunkering down indoors and trying to stay warm. But snuggling up with a warm mug of hot chocolate isn’t always going to be enough! According to the CDC, young children and the elderly are disproportionately affected by hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter months, and particularly during cold snaps. Often this results from failure to prepare for weather-related emergencies or improper maintenance of heating systems. The checklist below contains a few crucial steps that you can take now to help prepare your family for whatever the cold weather may bring.

•   Avoid/limit exposure:
    o   Limit outdoor excursions as much as possible - especially for children,
         the elderly, pets, and those with compromised health.
    o   If you must be outdoors, dress in layers.
    o   Use hand and foot warmers when venturing outside.  

•   Check your home’s heating systems:
    o   Make sure that all heating systems are clean, working properly, and vented to the outside.
    o   Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
    o   Install smoke detectors and test batteries monthly.
    o   Have a safe back-up heating source and fuel.
    o   Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies by installing a carbon monoxide detector, being aware
         of/alert for the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, and keeping generators and grills out of
         the house.

•   Prepare for weather-related emergencies and power outages:
  o   Stow a broom and a shovel in a handy spot (for clearing away leaves/snow from walkways and low
       lying vents).
  o   Stock a supply of food that does not require cooking or refrigeration and water.
  o   Keep a supply of fuel on hand for snow blowers and generators.
  o   Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:
      -   battery-operated flashlights, radios, and lamps;
      -   spare batteries;
      -   a stocked first-aid kit and extra medicine;
      -   baby items (i.e. jar foods, powdered formula, etc.);
      -   rock salt, cat litter, or sand for icy walkways; and
      -   blankets, warm clothing.

You'll all enjoy snuggling up together indoors a little more if you know you've done everything you can to plan ahead for the safety and comfort of your family, should an emergency arise!

- Destination Mom

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