2018 kicked off with some of the coldest temperatures on record for many US cities. The cold’s not over yet, so here are some crucial safety tips for your family during frigid temperatures.

Frigid Temperatures1. Monitor outdoor playtime carefully.

Children of all ages (yes, even the older kids) are inclined to forget cold safety when they’re frolicking in the ice and snow. When temperatures drop below freezing, check your children often while they spend time outdoors. Plenty of warm clothing is needed at all times to maintain a healthy core body temperature; and ears, fingers, and toes should be well covered and dry at all times to prevent frostbite.

It is also a good idea to know the signs of hypothermia in order to take immediate action when necessary. Remember, adults may also be vulnerable to cold stress during long hours of outdoor activity.

2. Eat for warmth.

While it may seem obvious to eat and drink hot fare like soup, spicy foods, and hot tea, many people do not realize that a little healthy fat can also help to maintain a healthy body temperature. Examples of healthy fats include omega-3 fatty acids (ALA, DHA, and EPA), monounsaturated fats (OEA), as well as some medium-chain saturated fats like stearic acid and lauric acid.

3. Dress for safety.

As you probably know, lots of layers, gloves, thermal underwear, and a snow cap are all great, but there are some unexpected accessories you may have forgotten. Especially when snow or ice is present, make sure to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin and wear protective sunglasses. The sun’s rays reflect intensely off of snow and ice, an effect that could potentially damage skin and eyes.

4. Don’t forget Fido.

Within the past month alone, a record number of accidental pet deaths due to cold have been reported across the United States. Remember, if it’s too cold for you to sleep outside, it’s too cold for pets as well. In the case of farm animals or feral cats, it’s important to provide some form of shelter and bedding to prevent health problems related to freezing temperatures.

5. Avoid alcohol when outdoors.

The old saying that alcohol warms the blood is a dangerous myth. Not only does alcohol have a tendency to lower your core body temperature, it can also have a negative effect on cold-weather reflexes like shivering. While there’s nothing necessarily dangerous about a hot toddy next to the fireplace, avoid any alcohol consumption when you’re headed outdoors into the cold weather.

6. Save the pipes.

Even when leaving the house, it’s important to leave the heat on. The central heating system will help to prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting. If you have to leave your house for days at a time, it is also a good idea to leave the faucets dripping so that water doesn’t freeze in the pipes.

7. Maintain fire safety.

Most house fires occur during winter months, usually due to neglected fireplaces and space heaters. Go ahead and enjoy a toasty fire in your fireplace, but be sure to extinguish it completely before retiring to bed or leaving the house. Also ensure that no flammable objects are left within three feet of any space heater. Finally, check to make sure all of your fire alarms are in working order.

8. Stay safe on the road.

In the case of recent ice, snow, or freezing rain, always check local road conditions before leaving the house. If you’d like to feel extra safe, especially in the case of a long winter drive, preparing a cold weather emergency vehicle kit may help put your mind at ease.

We’re wishing you all warmth and safety during these final weeks of winter’s frigid temperatures. Please see below for more articles on healthy lifestyles from Living Clean.

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