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Girl playing in snowWhenever your kids head outside to play this winter, keep them safe and warm with these tips from Michele Saysana, MD, a pediatrician at the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis:

Dress in Layers
If you think sweat will be a factor from playing or running around, start with a base that can wick water away from your child’s skin. If it’s really cold, add an extra layer in between the base and top layer, which should be waterproof to prevent snow from soaking through.

Forgo Gloves for Mittens
They keep fingers together and help them stay warm and cozy.

Choose Insulated, Waterproof Boots
These will do the best job of keeping toes warm and dry when kids walk through snow.

Lookout for Wet Clothing
Damp articles of clothing can speed up frostbite. Keep an extra hat and pair of mittens handy for kids playing in the snow.

Take Breaks from the Cold
Have the kids come indoors every 30 to 45 minutes to warm up. If they’ll be outside for more than 45 minutes at a time, Dr. Saysana suggests giving them warm liquids to keep their body temperature up.

If kids develop numbness or tingling sensations anywhere on the skin, they should come inside immediately—this is a sign of frostnip, an early stage of frostbite. It’s safe to deal with this at home, says Dr. Saysana: Simply remove any wet clothing, then soak the affected area in warm water for 20 to 30 minutes. If sensation returns, you’re in the clear. If not, or if the skin appears white, waxy, or hard, seek immediate medical attention.

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