Tips for transporting and moving about with children in the snowEnjoying the snow as a family is a marvelous experience for all, particularly the youngest members, who will most likely have most fun. To be able to make the most of it you must take into account a number of tips when it comes to driving with children in snowy conditions, not only to get to your destination but when getting out of the vehicle, when using the buggy, as well as the clothes to wear and basic precautions to take in the snow.
Transporting children when it is snowing
You must take certain basic precautions when driving in the snow. To begin with, all automobile occupants must be properly seated, with their seat belts or harnesses correctly fastened. Moreover, children must have a child restraint system to suit their physical characteristics.
The CRS must be properly fastened without any free play. The belts must be fitted tightly to the child's body. Therefore, it is not recommended that the child wear an overcoat in the car.
It is highly recommended to have the automobile interior well air conditioned so that occupants do not get stifled by the heat. Moreover, even in winter it is important that young children be well hydrated.
When driving, be extra careful owing to the slippery road surface. Increase the safety distance and reduce speed where so required by the conditions you encounter. The article entitled 'Tips for driving safely in winter: ice and snow’ in ‘Road Safety for Young People’ offers these tips:
- Visibility is essential, so windows must be very clean and obstacle free, as well as rear-view mirrors.
- Prudence and anticipation are key factors to driving safely in snowy conditions. Handle the steering wheel and pedals with great delicacy to avoid loosing adherence. Maneuvers must be very smooth and decisive.
- The best way to drive in the snow is to use as least engine power as possible: high gears, low revolutions and light pedal pressure.
- To brake, first use the engine brake. If you have to use the foot brake, do so smoothly.
- Do not forget the tire chains. Learn to use them and if you have winter tires, do not forget that they replace the chains.
How to dress children and babies in very cold and snowy conditions
It is essential that babies be well protected. Very young children should only be brought outside when it is very cold if it is absolutely necessary. To prevent children from overheating, you must dress them with one or two more layers of clothing than adults.
The key is to hold onto as much body heat as possible, while allowing steam to be released, i.e. we must dress them by layers but make sure that these breathe. Moreover, the lighter the layers are to meet heat conservation requirements the better and freer the children's movements.
You must always make sure that the child's fingers and toes, ears, nose and chin are well covered, but even so the baby must be able to breathe with ease.
As regards older children, ideally they should be dressed by layers in such a way that they have no problem keeping warm. Three main layers are recommended for low temperature and when there is snow outside, for example:
- First layer: thermal underwear, woolen socks.
- Second layer: mock turtleneck, a sweater or vest, as well as sweatsuit bottoms or ski pants.
- Third layer: water-resistant jacket, hat, gloves and gumboots with good enough grip. A scarf can get trapped in objects, thus it is a strangling hazard, so a neck gaiter would be the best solution.
Protecting children's skin is essential
Cold winters can dry a baby's and young children's skin; dry skin can bring other problems later on. To avoid the harmful effects of cold on the skin apply a generous layer of moisturizing cream in the areas most exposed. Indeed, there are special protective ones available for cold weather.
Whenever looking for a product of this type, the best ones are perfume free because they are less likely to irritate the skin. If you dress a child with too much clothing, too many layers or very heavy clothes, the child will most likely perspire. Any such perspiration can irritate concealed parts of the skin. Conversely, if you dress them too lightly, this increases the dehydrating effect of the cold on the skin.
You must remember that in the snow, there is greater exposure to the sun's rays than normal. Consequently, a good sun blocker is needed to protect children's and bay's skin. If you are going to spend the day in the snow, you should wear sun glasses to suit both your sight and age.