It’s Cold OutsideOver the past few years, “Old Man Winter” has hit Kentucky with cold temperatures, ice storms and heavy accumulations of snow. Now is the time to prepare your students for long waits at the bus stop on cold winter mornings.
Another issue to consider is whether your district has a policy regarding when it is too cold to have recess outside.
First, educate parents and students on how to prepare for the bus stop: Children should insulate themselves against the cold by dressing in loose-fitting layers, which help retain the heat and keep them warm. Another advantage of wearing layers is that students can remove articles of clothing if they get too hot after going inside. In neighborhoods where there are a number of children waiting for the bus, the district might suggest erecting a bus shelter to shield children from the wind and cold.
When it comes to outside recess, it is important to pay attention to the wind chill factor. Even in cold temperatures children will perspire, leaving their skin more susceptible to frostbite. In 30-degree weather with the wind blowing at 30 miles per hour, it feels like 15 degrees. In this scenario frostbite can begin to occur in as little as 30 minutes.
Teachers and playground supervisors should ensure children are adequately dressed before sending them to the playground. It’s also important to observe children during the cold weather. Do not ignore shivering, which is an important first sign that the body is losing heat. If a child continues to shiver, it is a signal to return indoors.
You can download the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Extreme Cold” guide and review other cold weather tips.
— by Joe Isaacs, KSBIT loss control specialist. For more information, contact your KSBIT loss control representative at 1-800-876-4552.