Caring for Kids…at Billings Clinic


Rushing around to see family and friends? Heading out to do some winter shopping with the kids? Trying to make it to the matinee at the movie theater? I have found that it’s easier to get a bunch of errands done at once to avoid having to leave the warmth of our home more than once each day, especially as it gets colder and snowier.  The end of the year is a very busy time with school break, holiday seasons and trips out of town. Many may find themselves running around more than usual to get everything accomplished. But the winter months can also be filled with snow and ice that can create slick roadways and sidewalks and set kids and parents up for slips and falls. It’s tough to remember to slow down!

Kids who fall on ice are not just at risk of bumps, cuts and bruises but could also have fractures from falling on an outstretched arm, or concussions from hitting their heads. Below are some tips to consider for preventing ice and snow related injuries and keep kids safe this winter season:

  • Remove snow early if you can to prevent ice patches. Use sand or salt to help create more surface for shoes to grip.

  • Try to plan your trips around the weather. If you can avoid going out when the sidewalks and roadways are less icy then try to wait.

  • Keep in mind that driving may take longer than usual. Try to drive during the day to be able to see ice patches more clearly. Keep extra sets of gloves and sweaters for the kids in the car in case you do have to stop for help.

  • Be wary of ice in parking lots. Use your car doors for support. Avoid carrying heavy loads if you can by using backpacks. Make sure children hold hands with an adult and walk very slowly.

  • When walking on icy sidewalks, try to walk like waddling ducks with your feet as flat as possible and take slow, steady steps. Watch for slippery floors when you walk into buildings – they may be covered in melting snow or water as well.

  • It’s very important to use sturdy and warm footwear to help support you and your kids while walking on snow or ice. Children’s feet can get cold quickly and they may slip without soles that can grip the ground. Make sure they wear tall, warm socks to keep their feet and ankles warm. Help your kids get their boots on, insuring they are completely on and secured before walking.

Don’t let the ice stop you from going outside!  It’s great for kids to keep up their endurance during the winter so that they can stay fit and enjoy the fresh air outdoors. A child may be more likely to be injured if they are not used to being active. Just try to remember to be cautious when it’s cold and snowy, and slow down!

Patricia Notario, MD

Dr. Patricia Notario is a pediatrician at Billings Clinic with a special interest in complex care.

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