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Health & Parenting

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Preparing Your Family for Winter Weather

You've remembered to winterize your house and your car, but is your family ready? Be sure to prepare your kids and your kitchen for snowy days and long winter nights.

Making Your Kitchen Ready for Winter continued...

The Department of Homeland Security recommends three days' worth of food.

For those long afternoons out sledding, set the slow cooker to make herb chicken. Put rough-cut celery, onions, and carrots in your pot, add pieces of a cut-up fryer, and bring the water up half-way. Cook for several hours. After a day's winter activity, add some barley and salt and pepper and cook a few minutes before serving.

When pent-up kids need a diversion, cut out bread into stars with a cookie cutter and toast it. Let the kids mix up tuna salad out of mayo, dill, and mustard and spread it onto every point.

If the kids are still bouncing off the walls, mix up some fake Play-Doh: 3 cups of flour, 1.5 cups of salt, 6 teaspoons of cream of tartar, and 3 cups of water. Mix the dough until it balls up and can be handled. Then set the "energy bunnies" to sculpting animals and little cars. If you are the brave type, add food coloring.

Tips for Playing Outside in Winter

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends dressing infants and children in several thin layers, such as long johns, turtlenecks, one or two shirts, a sweater, warm socks, boots, gloves or mittens, and a coat. Dress children in one more layer than you would wear.

Children who play outside may not notice they are getting too cold or even experiencing hypothermia, the AAP says in its bulletin, "Winter Safety Tips."

This can go for adults, too, says Gregg Boughton, coordinator of the outreach sports medicine program at Gem City Bone & Joint. He's also head athletic trainer at the Laramie City Community College in Wyoming, where it was 20 below zero the day he talked to WebMD. "The first sign of hypothermia is shivering," he says. This means it's time to go inside, he adds.

Adults and children can also get the beginnings of frostbite, which destroys living tissue, without being aware of it. "The first sign is numbness," Boughton says. Skin can appear gray, pale, or blistered along with the numbness, according to the AAP.

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