How to keep kids safe in the winter

While kids are outside enjoying the snow this winter, there are things parents can do to keep them safe.

Dr. Denise Dowd, an emergency room doctor for Children's Mercy Hospital , says the most common things that send children to the E.R. are sledding accidents.

"Kids love snow, they love to play in the snow, you can hardly blame them," Dr. Denise Dowd said, "You just want to make sure they do it in a way that it's monitored by adults."

Dowd says kids like to to pile on top of one another and slide down a hill. Not only can this be dangerous, it can lead to serious injuries if there is a collision. Children can also get thrown off the sled and get hurt.

Dowd also cautions kids who want to slide or ice skate onto a body of water.

"Here in the Midwest, the ice is not to be trusted," Dowd said.

She adds Children's Mercy sees many children come into the E.R. with extremity fractures from children falling on the snow or ice and fracturing an extremity like their arm or wrist.

Children's Mercy also cautions parents to be mindful of their children getting frostbite.

Dowd said she doesn't really see it in older children because they know when to come inside to keep warm. The concern is for the children who can't talk, especially toddlers 12 to 18 months.

"If you're in the cold as an adult and you're sensing that your hands are cold, you can bet that their hands are cold," Dowd said, "In fact, kids are a little bit more sensitive to the cold."

You see it all the time, kids eating snow, but is it safe?

We asked Dr. Dowd and she suggests to stay away from the snow, because of, "the fact that our (air) environment is not as clean as it should be and snow comes through that."

Children's Mercy warns the two week period between Christmas and New Year's is one of the busiest times for the hospital. They see about 100 to 150 injuries that could have been prevented.

When children are rushed to the E.R., Children's Mercy looks for the four T's:

• Toxins: Poinsettias or leftover alcoholic drinks can be toxic if ingested.

• Trees and Decorations: Buy a tree that’s fire resistant and place it out of the way of traffic, and do not block doorways. Don’t let her play near the tree; it can fall on top of her. She can choke on small ornaments or glass ornaments can break in her hands. Children can be burned or shocked if they play with the Christmas lights.

• Toys: Watch out for toys with small parts. He could swallow or choke on them. Also, make sure the toys he plays with are age appropriate. Immediately discard plastic wrappings on toys, which can cause suffocation.

• Travel: Not all of the homes you visit during the holidays will be kid friendly. Keep an eye on your child when visiting friends or relatives.

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