A child’s normal core temperature ranges from 98-99 degrees. When playing outside in the cold and snow, however, a child’s body can lose heat quickly. That is when hypothermia becomes a concern.
Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 95 degrees. Warning signs include:
- Body shivers
- Fingers and toes feel numb
- Exposed skin may look puffy and blue
- Lack of coordination
- Muscle aches
- Difficulty walking
- Mental confusion
- Slower breathing and heart rate
- Irregular or erratic heart beat
Because severe hypothermia can be a life-threatening condition, a child with any level of hypothermia needs immediate attention. Below are quick steps for treating hypothermia:
- Remove your child from the cold and remove any wet clothing.
- Warm your child with blankets around the body, especially the neck and chest.
- Offer a warm beverage, if your child is able to drink.
- Share body heat by using skin-to-skin contact by lying next to your child.
- Cover yourself and your child with a warm blanket.
If your child begins shaking violently or becomes confused, call 911. If breathing becomes very shallow or non-existent, begin CPR.
Winter Play Safety Tips
Boys Town Pediatrics encourages monitored outdoor play during the winter months. The best way to protect your child from hypothermia and other cold injuries is to prevent them from ever happening. Just follow these winter safety tips from Boys Town Pediatrics:
- Stay covered by wearing a hat.
- Keep dry by wearing waterproof gloves and boots.
- Play smart and come inside every 30-60 minutes to warm up.
- Wear layers to help stay comfortable during play.
If your child begins to complain of being cold or wet, make sure to take a break from play—go inside and grab a warm drink. Stay warm, have fun, and enjoy this winter season!
Same Day Pediatrics, a service of Boys Town Pediatrics, offers scheduled same-day sick visits for all Omaha children. Same Day Pediatrics is not an urgent care clinic, but a real pediatric clinic with scheduled appointment times, seven days a week. Call 402-334-SICK (7425) to schedule an appointment.