Staying Safe This Winter
Winter is a time of playing in the snow and sipping hot cocoa. It is also a time that families should take extra care to keep safe during months of unpredictable and sometimes dangerous weather. Knowing how to dress for snow and cold temperatures, avoid slips and falls, and staying safe while you travel will help ensure you enjoy these winter months.
Dressing for Wind Chill and Snow
Sledding, skiing, snowmobiling, and more — there are numerous healthy and fun outdoor winter activities. It’s important that you and your family protect yourselves by dressing appropriately for the cold weather. You also should know how to prevent and respond to cold-related emergencies, like frostbite and hypothermia. Here are some resources to help:
Winter Safety Reminder— University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) Health — Tips for keeping infants and children warm, dressing for winter weather, and avoiding winter-related illness.
Stay Safe in Cold Weather — National Institute on Aging — Learn why you need to stay warm when it’s cold.
Frostbite and Hypothermia — American Red Cross — How to recognize and respond to these cold-related emergencies.
Preventing Falls in the Winter
Falling on the ice is a common problem, particularly for older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of three adults age 65 and older falls each year. Take a look at these resources to find helpful suggestions for staying on your feet in wintry weather conditions:
Preventing Falls on Ice — ABC News — Short video with tips for preventing falls on ice.
Avoid Slips and Falls in Icy Conditions— Northern Ireland (NI) Direct Government Services — Simple steps can help ensure that you won’t fall on ice or get hurt if you do fall.
Staying Safe on the Go
Winter travel can be an adventure but also very dangerous. While traveling in the winter, a little preparation and precaution can help you avoid a dangerous situation.
- Get your vehicle winterized — checking tires, brakes, heating and fuel systems, battery, antifreeze levels, etc. — before the cold and snow arrives.
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle in case you become stranded or face a different emergency. Ensure it includes items like water, non-perishable high calorie food (nuts, dried fruit, etc.), warm clothes and blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries, a battery powered radio, a shovel, a bag of sand, flares, first aid kit, and an ice scraper. Check your emergency kit before venturing out in poor conditions or longer trips and replace items as necessary. Include items like the following:
- non-perishable high calorie food (nuts, dried fruit)
- warm clothes and blankets
- flashlight with extra batteries
- battery powered radio
- bag of sand
- first aid kit
- ice scraper
Here are some additional resources that can help keep you safe on the go:
Winter Survival Kit — North Dakota State University Extension Service — Free Smartphone app that can be as critical as a physical winter survival kit if you find yourself stuck or stranded in severe winter weather conditions.
Winter Safety Tips — Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness — Comprehensive resource covers winterizing your vehicle, packing a vehicle emergency bag, driving in the winter, and what to do should you become stranded.
Winter Weather: Staying Safe — National Weather Service; Des Moines, Iowa Forecast Office — Ensure you have what you need in your home and car should bad weather strike.
Winter Car Safety — Kansas Department of Health and Environment — Fact sheet on avoiding hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning when facing a winter car emergency.
Winter, Your Car, and You — National Safety Council — Tips to make sure your vehicle is prepared to make it through the winter.
Keep Your Home Safe and Warm During the Winter — University of Minnesota Extension — Tips and resources to avoid winter fires, home damage, and more.
Winter Impacts — University of Minnesota Extension — Resources for protecting your home and other property from winter damage.
Seven Steps to Cold Weather Safety — Government of Canada — Simple steps to make sure that you are ready for cold weather.
Winter Storm — American Red Cross — Know the difference between different types of winter storms and how to be prepared and safe during them.
Winter Storm Preparedness — American Red Cross — Checklist for what to do before, during, and after a winter storm.
Power Outage Checklist — American Red Cross — Checklist for preparing for a power outage, what to do during one, and what to do when the power comes back on.
A Guide to Food Storage for Emergencies — Utah State University Extension — Comprehensive guide for selecting food, storing food, and preparing food in light of a disaster.
See the related program: Families in Tough Times