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Boy playing in snow

Don’t let cold weather dampen outdoor activities

January 1, 2023

If it’s cold outside, there still are plenty of things kids can do to get exercise and have fun. Parents should make sure their children dress warmly and don’t stay outdoors too long.

Most children should get at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. They can walk, jog, go to a playground, make a snowman, sled, ice skate and throw snowballs.

Children should dress in warm layers of clothing and wear gloves, hats, scarves and boots. Parents should make sure kids come inside often to warm up.

Children exposed to extreme cold for too long without warm, dry, breathable clothing can get frostbite or even life-threatening hypothermia. Children are more at risk from the cold than adults. Because their bodies are smaller, they lose heat more quickly.


Frostbite happens when the skin and sometimes the tissues below it freezes. Fingers, toes, ears and noses are most likely to get frostbite. The skin may start to hurt or feel like it’s burning and get numb. It may turn white or pale gray and form blisters.

  • If you suspect frostbite, bring your child indoors to warm up slowly. Do not rub the affected area and don’t pop any blisters.
  • Do not put anything hot directly on the skin. Soak the frostbitten area of the body in warm (not hot) water for 20 to 30 minutes. Apply warm washcloths to frostbitten noses, ears and lips.
  • After a few minutes, dry and cover your child with blankets. Give him or her something warm to drink.
  • If the pain or numbness continues for more than a few minutes, call your pediatrician.


When the body’s temperature drops below normal from the cold, dangerous hypothermia begins to set in. Shivering is a sign the body is trying to warm itself up. A child may become sluggish, clumsy or slur words. Hypothermia is a medical emergency, so call 911 right away.

  • Until help arrives, bring your child inside. Remove any wet clothing.
  • Wrap your child in blankets or warm clothes and give him or her something warm to drink.
  • If your child stops breathing or loses a pulse, give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or CPR.

Find more cold weather safety tips at

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