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Stay safe this winter

A few of us in the super-minority actually enjoy seeing the snow fall in the winter. It blankets the outdoors with a clean coat of white goodness as it falls unencumbered from the sky, reminding us of The Good Old Days of our childhood. Oh, if only we had a nickel for every hour spent spent sledding, building snow forts and tossing snowballs (packed softly and aimed at the shins on down, of course).

As beautiful as this time of the year can be, however, as Midwesterners, we are all fully aware that winter can also be dangerous if it isn't treated with respect. Our bodies are simply not constructed to be able to survive in sub-freezing temperatures without donning hats, gloves, coats and other pieces of warm clothing.

With the onset of cooler temperatures — combined with our relentless and never-ending desire to help you, our friends — we offer these cold weather tips:

• Dress children warmly in several layers of clothing. Wear boots, gloves or mittens and a hat. • Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play, and make sure children go into a warm place periodically to warm up. • Limit the amount of time that infants are outdoors when it is colder than 40 degrees fahrenheit because they lose body heat quickly. • Kids (and adults, too) who become distracted, irritable or begin to hyperventilate, may be suffering from hypothermia or they may be too tired to participate safely in winter sports. They need to go indoors to warm up and rest. • Certain beverages (those that contain caffeine and alcohol) and medications can make you more sensitive to the cold. Be cognizant of this. Please. • Shoveling snow can be a good exercise, but be sure to use caution and warm up your muscles and stretch before beginning. • Don’t work to the point of exhaustion when shoveling snow. Take frequent breaks, and stop immediately if your chest feels tight.

Obviously, the best way to avoid any danger is to stay indoors if possible. Text the neighbor boy to see if he can scoop the snow out of your driveway. But if you do feel the need to venture outside, make sure to take these proper precautions.

You can never be too safe.

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