Winter is a wonderful time of year with lots of opportunity for outdoor fun with the little ones, here are a few tips to keep your children protected and safe over the colder months.
Wrap up warm. Wrap your children up in well fitting clothes making sure they are not so tight that they restrict movement. Footwear that is too tight can constrict blood flow, causing feet to become even colder, and when fitting shoes allow room for an extra pair of socks.
Winter driving can be dangerous, so you should be prepared for emergencies. Make sure you have a few essentials in your car: a first-aid kit, blankets, ice scraper, water, and non-perishable snacks (chocolate or cereal bars).
Check your vehicle is safe, most garages offer a winter check service which will cover most of the points below.
Antifreeze – check coolant level regularly, top up with the correct antifreeze mixture if required. Your garage should check concentration to ensure adequate cold temperature protection.
Battery – This is one of the most common causes of winter breakdowns, get it checked and replaced if necessary to avoid the inconvenience of an unplanned failure.
Fuel - Keep at least a quarter of a tank in case of unexpected delay.
Lights - Check and clean all lights regularly
Tyres – should have at least 3mm of tread for winter motoring. Consider winter tyres for improved safety. Check pressures at least every fortnight.
Windscreen – check and replace worn wiper blades. Keeping your screen clean inside and out, will reduce dazzle.
Screen wash – Use a mix to the appropriate concentration of a good quality screen wash to reduce the chance of freezing in frosty weather.
Practice safety when playing. Always supervise your child’s winter activities ensuring they stay warm and safe. Sledging is a favourite activity for most children (and us parents) in winter but make sure you are a safe distance away from roads and other hazards. Talk to your children so they learn the dangers of playing on frozen lakes and ponds.
Make it a priority to be seen when you're out this autumn and winter. With the night’s drawing in it's time to consider how visible you and your family are at night and early morning. Wear light-coloured or reflective clothing to make yourself more visible to drivers and carrying a torch not only makes you more visible but helps to prevent slips, trips and falls.
There is safety in numbers and try and teach your children that its best to stick together, especially as it might be getting dark as they are leaving school or after school clubs. Walking home with a friend is much safer than being alone, your child should know the route home, and your phone number in case of emergency. If they have a mobile phone, remind them to keep the battery charged and enough credit to call.
Heat your home safely. Check your heating is working correctly before temperatures fall and its recommended to have your central heating services annually if you carbon monoxide detectors they should be checked to ensure they function properly. If you own a portable heater, keep it away from small children and make sure it is located in a safe position to reduce fire risk. Don’t forget to discuss fire safety with your family each winter; the likelihood of indoor fires increases during the colder months