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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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Tuesday: Minnesota Winter Hazard Safety Week — November 8-12, 2010

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This week is Winter Hazard Safety week. Each day is devoted to a different topic concerning winter safety. To help with the effort, cities across the state are holding forums, providing daily winter safety tips and publicizing the effort in local newspapers and on city websites.

The week is broken down as:

Outdoor Safety for Children

Facts

  • While freezing winter temperatures keep many adults indoors, children may want to play outside all day. Each year, emergency rooms in the United States treat thousands of children for injuries related to sledding and ice skating.
  • Exposure to cold without adequate protection can result in frostbite.

Safe Behavior

  • Dress children warmly. Clothing should consist of several layers and include boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat.
  • Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play. Occasionally call children in to warm up. Provide warm drinks such as hot chocolate.
  • Limit the amount of time that infants are outdoors when it is colder than 40 degrees. Infants lose body heat quickly.
  • Children should skate only on approved surfaces. Check for posted signs or call local authorities to find out which areas have been approved.
  • Children should be taught to skate in the same direction as the crowd and avoid darting across the ice. They should also use a "buddy system" and never skate alone.
  • Children should sled on gently-sloping terrain covered with packed snow (not ice). Parents and caregivers should look for terrain that is free of obstacles and far from traffic.
  • Sledding equipment should be sturdy and safely constructed. Avoid equipment with sharp or jagged edges. Children should be encouraged to sit up while riding downhill. Lying flat increases the chance of head and abdominal injuries. Sledding equipment should be easily steered. Avoid makeshift sleds.
  • Tell children never to ride in a sled that is being pulled by a motorized vehicle.

Identifying the reason behind the week the HSEM press release identified the issues:

Over the last 10 years, more than 50 people drowned after falling through thin ice, and 65 percent of ice drownings were vehicle related. Last winter, 22 people died in snowmobile accidents; half those fatal events involved alcohol or drug use. And during 2005–2007 in Minnesota, officers reported snow or icy road conditions in nearly 41,000 crashes that resulted in 159 deaths and 13,000 injuries. Clearly, people are being “surprised” by weather conditions."

The plan is, no matter how harsh the winter, to make sure everyone is safe and alive at the end of it.