Every winter at Massachusetts General Hospital and MassGeneral Hospital for Children, we see many adults and children injured by snow and ice and extreme cold weather. Please follow the tips below to keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe this winter.
• Check to make sure all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors work.
• Keep space heaters far away from anything that could burn and turn them off when leaving the room or sleeping.
• Be prepared for emergencies, including power outages by having necessary supplies at home: flashlights, food, radio, first aid kit.
• Check in on older family members and neighbors to make sure they are OK during episodes of bad weather.
• Dress yourself and your children in layers and wear hats and mittens and waterproof boots.
• Put sand or salt or similar products on your walkways and driveways to prevent falls.
• Be very careful when operating snow blowers. Make sure the snow blower is OFF before putting in fuel or attempting to unblock a jam. Keep your hands away from moving parts.
• Beware of ice and black ice on sidewalks and driveways. Ice may melt during the day and re-freeze at night.
• Be mindful when crossing the streets. Oftentimes snow will pile up and block crosswalks or make the streets narrower and more difficult to cross.
• Make sure you talk to your children about NEVER walking on frozen ponds, lakes or rivers. This can be extremely dangerous and every year MGHfC sees children who have fallen through thin ice and gotten seriously injured.
• If your child is sledding, make sure that the end of the hill does not end in the street where there will be cars or run into any structures or trees.
• If your child wants to ski or snowboard, dress them properly, including a helmet, and make sure they are taught by a qualified professional. Young children should be supervised during skiing or snowboarding outings.
• The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 16 not operate snowmobiles and that children under age 6 never ride on snowmobiles.
In Your Car
Make sure your car is ready for winter by having it checked by a mechanic and put on snow tires.
• Make sure your car is ready for winter by having it checked by a mechanic and put on snow tires.
• Keep the gas tank full.
• Maintain antifreeze and windshield washer levels.
• Make sure you have supplies in your car in case of an emergency: flashlight, batteries, food and water, first aid kit, booster cables, flares, tire pump.
We acknowledge the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Department of Homeland Security for providing assistance with these tips.