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Cold Temperature Exposure - Prevention

Prevention measures for children

Children may not be aware of cold temperatures. Parents need to understand the ways in which the body loses heat and:

  • Limit the amount of time a child is out in cold, wet, or windy weather.
  • Dress children appropriately for the weather conditions. Remember C-O-L-D:
    • Cover your child's head, neck, and face as much as possible since a lot of heat loss can occur in these areas. These areas are also at risk for frostnip or frostbite. Apply lip protection.
    • Overexertion (being too active) can cause your child to sweat and chill more quickly. Sweating causes clothing to become damp and increases heat loss.
    • Layers of clothing will keep your child warm and protect your child best against wind and cold conditions.
    • Dry is key in preventing cold injury. Keeping your child dry with waterproof clothing reduces heat loss.
  • Keep close watch on your children's body heat even in the summer when they are swimming in a lake or pool for a long time.
  • Teach children to avoid touching cold metal with bare hands or licking extremely cold metal objects. Cold is transmitted more easily through metal and increases the risk of a cold injury, such as frostbite. Also, your child's tongue might stick to the cold metal and be difficult to remove.

Older or less active people can prevent indoor hypothermia by dressing warmly while indoors and keeping room temperatures above 65 °F (18 °C).

Be aware that some states fund programs to help low-income families add insulation or "weatherize" their homes to keep the family warm. Also, some low-income families may qualify for help in paying their heating bills. Contact your state or local energy agency or the local power or gas company for more information.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 15, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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