Winter is coming! And, do you know what that means? Snow!
If you're lucky enough to live somewhere that gets a lot of snow, that means snowball fights are imminent.
Snowball fights are generally a safe winter activity (especially compared to other popular options like ice skating, sledding, and skiing). But, snowball fight-related accidents and injuries can still sometimes occur.
That doesn't mean you should stop your kids from participating in them, though.
If you're prepared and keep these important safety tips in mind for kids playing in snow, there's no reason why they can't stay safe have a great time when winter arrives.
1. Dress for the Weather
A snowball fight is the ultimate snow day activity. But, in order for them to enjoy the day, you'll need to make sure your kids have dressed appropriately.
What constitutes appropriate dress for a snowball fight? For kids, appropriate dress involves layers. That way, if they get too warm, they can easily remove a layer to cool down without being exposed to the snow or cold air.
A good rule of thumb is to start with a thin layer that will wick away moisture. That way, they won't get too cold when they start sweating.
Then, top this layer off with one or two insulating layers -- such as a long-sleeved shirt or leggings. Finish with a wind- and waterproof outer shell -- snow pants and a snow coat or a snowsuit.
2. Keep Their Hands Warm
Cold hands are the most common issue you'll hear kids complain about during or after a snowball fight. To keep their hands and fingers as toasty as possible, make sure they're wearing a pair of thick, insulated mittens or gloves.
Mittens tend to keep hands warmer, but gloves can be a bit better for scooping up snow and forming it into snowballs.
At the end of the day, though, it's best to let your child choose whichever style they prefer. Remember, if they don't like them, they'll probably just end up taking them off altogether.
It's also a good idea to have your child wear a pair of gloves that extend up to their forearms. This will keep snow out better than a regular pair of gloves or mittens. You can find shirts that have mittens or gloves attached and the ends of the sleeves, too.
3. Shield Their Skin
Your skin can still get sunburned during the winter. In fact, your child's risk of getting sunburned might be worse. This is because snow reflects up to 80 percent of the sun's UV rays.
You definitely don't need to keep your child inside on sunny winter days. But, you should make sure they wear sunscreen. Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all exposed areas -- face, hands, neck, scalp, etc.
Look for a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection. This will shield your child's skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Check the label to make sure it contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
4. Teach Them to Check Before They Chuck
Perhaps the most common injury someone can sustain during a snowball fight is a cut or scrape caused by a rock or ice that's lodged in the snowball that hits them.
Teach your child to check their snowballs before throwing them. Their snowballs should be totally free from pebbles and other debris.
You should also encourage them to use fresh snow from open areas, like a field or backyard lawn, rather than snow from the sidewalk or road.
5. Know the Signs of Hypothermia and Frostbite
Most kids will get a hot chocolate craving and come inside way before hypothermia or frostbite sets in. But, if you have a child who's an Olympic level snowball fighter, or if you just want to be safe, it's good to be aware of the signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
Common symptoms of hypothermia include:
- Severe shivering
Common symptoms of frostbite include:
- Flushed gray, white, yellow, or blue skin
- Waxy feeling skin
These conditions are both rare and unlikely to affect the average child playing in the snow. It's good to know the signs, though, just in case.
6. Teach Them to Avoid Head Shots
Serious injuries rarely happen during snowball fights. But, when someone does get hurt, it's usually because they got hit in the head or face.
This is especially true for older children who are stronger and can put a little more oomph behind their throws compared to young kids.
Encourage your kids and their friends to avoid throwing snowballs at the head and face. It's the one part of their body that will probably be uncovered during the fight and, therefore, going to hurt the most if it gets hit with a snowball.
7. Dress Them in Bright Colors
Finally, make sure your child is dressed in bright colors (avoid white) and clothing made of reflective materials.
This is especially important if your child is going to be playing at a neighbor's house or a nearby park or playground.
If your child is dressed in bright, reflective clothing, it will be easier for you to spot them if you need to go pick them up when the fight's over. If they're walking to a friend's house or to a park, they're also more visible to cars when they're dressed this way.
If you don't want to invest in new gear, or if you don't have time to go to the store before your child's big snowball fight, you can simply apply a few strips of reflective tape to their coat and snow pants.
The Perfect Tool for Kids Playing in Snow
Snowball fights are generally a safe winter activity for kids of all ages.
If you want to keep your child extra safe this winter, keep these tips in mind. They'll help minimize the likelihood of an injury being caused by kids playing in snow.
Want to keep your child's hands dry and warm during the winter months? Pick up the SnoFling Snowball Launcher today.
This is a great tool that will keep your kids entertained for hours, with no worries about icy fingers!