Staying healthy, warm and safe in frigid weather conditions

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Frigid temperatures are blasting in.

Covering up from head to toe and dressing in layers is a must. Frostbite and hypothermia can set in pretty quickly.

“The first rule of thumb is that kids should be in one extra layer of clothing from what you are comfortable with or what you’re comfortable in as an adult,” says Pediatric Emergency Physician Dr. James Dodington at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital.

What to do with teens who say no to a winter coat.

He says, “Part of it is maybe encouraging them to stay healthy so they can do the activities they want to do but there’s no magical way of getting teenagers to wear more clothing.”

But a small child in a puffy coat is a real safety hazard in a car seat.

Child Passenger Safety Instructor at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital Nick Aysseh points to a mannequin, “This bulkiness here and here. In an accident, what’s going to happen is this child is going to move forward and this material and bulkiness is all going to compress and at that point you run the risk of the harness being too loose and the child having either a neck injury or other severe injuries or actually coming out of the seat.”

Aysseh recommends taking the coat off before strapping them on.

He explains, “You are somewhat deceived that it’s nice and tight here. So what happens is, imagine I’m going to compress all this material. Now look at how loose this really is.”

The first days of extreme cold weather can catch some of us by surprise.

Pulling out the hat, scarves and gloves can help avoid visits to emergency departments and treated by physicians like Dr. Sharon Chekijian at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

She says, “Frequently people can actually get a redness to their feet and hands and that’s your body’s reaction dilating the blood vessels to get more heat to that area so if you see that, it’s actually, it’s your body trying to counteract the cold.”

For more information on car seat safety, call Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital at 203-200-KIDS.

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