FORT LEE, Va. (Feb. 6, 2014) -- Winter weather can be dangerous in many ways, especially for children. However, with careful planning and supervision, children can enjoy the fun and freedom of playing indoors or outdoors on these days without substantial risk. The following tips improve the chances of children having fun without sustaining injuries:

• Always supervise your child’s winter activities.

• Dress in multiple layers to play outside, including extra layers for legs, feet and hands.

• Always wear hats and gloves when playing outdoors in cold weather; the biggest proportion of body heat is lost through the head and hands.

• Limit the amount of time spent playing outdoors to safe intervals, and bring children inside periodically to warm up.

• Remove all wet clothing immediately and change to dry clothes before going back outdoors.

• Wear sunscreen on all exposed skin to guard against burns from bright sunlight and snow glare.

• Do not permit children to play outdoors in poor weather such as snowstorms, extreme cold or high winds.

• Dress children in brightly colored outer clothing that is easily seen from a distance.

• Do not dress children in winter wear with drawstrings because they can cut off circulation and make frostbite a greater threat. Loose drawstrings also may present a strangulation hazard.

• Avoid snowball fights that can lead to injuries from dangerous projectiles.

• Keep roofs, gutters and awnings free from snow and icicle buildup that could collapse and injure a child.

• Teach children never to touch or lick exposed metal in winter.

• Do not allow children to eat snow. It may contain pollutants or other contaminants, and the cold snow can chill a young child’s body to dangerous levels.

• Regularly de-ice or sand sidewalks, driveways, patios and other areas where children may play.

• Do not put a space heater in a child’s room.

• Teach children fire safety procedures, including how to spot potential hazards.

• Do not allow children to play in fires such as roasting marshmallows in a fireplace.

• Practice family fire drills to reinforce safe behavior.