The Times West Virginian

December 3, 2012

Kids can have fun outdoors in winter, too

Times West Virginian

— Just because winter is right around the corner doesn’t mean kids shouldn’t bundle up for some fun outside. Knowing the right outdoor activities for winter days is the first step to having a healthy, active winter.

Dr. Fatima S. Khan, pediatrician with Rush-Copley Medical Center and an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Rush University Medical College in Chicago, says keeping active all year is an absolute must for families.

“This is very important. The No. 1 reason for the childhood obesity epidemic is due to physical inactivity and spending too much time in front of TV or computer games,” Khan said.

Ready to tear the kids away from games and get them outside for winter activities? Here are a few things to know.

• Before heading outside, make sure kids are bundled up to be warm. Adults should bundle up, too. Be sure to wear gloves, coats and warm socks, along with weather-appropriate footwear.

• Be aware of the signs of frostbite in kids. If a child complains of aching pain or numbness, most often to extremities (hands, feet or ears) or his skin feels hard/waxy with a white color, come inside immediately.

• Don’t worry — playing outside won’t make them sick. Khan said the idea that going outside in the cold will give you a cold is nothing more than an old wive’s tale.

“Just going outside doesn’t make people catch colds. Of course, they should be appropriately dressed ... and if it’s really cold ... staying inside is better,” Khan said.

However, Khan said that if someone has been exposed to the cold virus, being in the cold weather can make the cold come on faster.

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