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7 tips for keeping kids warm in freezing cold weather

An expert shares advice for parents to keep children safe from extreme winter temperatures.
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/ Source: TODAY

Power outages, frozen pipes and brutally cold temperatures across the United States have people scrambling to stay warm in any way possible this winter.

Parents are faced with an additional challenge — how to keep their kids warm when the temperatures drop. Rolling blackouts across states like Texas are making it even harder to stay safe in frigid weather.

Children’s Health, a pediatric health system in North Texas, offered tips for parents to keep their kids safe and warm in a helpful Instagram carousel.

Dr. June Hu, a neonatologist and medical director of the Fetal Evaluation and Treatment Alliance Center (FETAL) Center at Children’s Health, told TODAY Parents the first thing parents should do if the power goes out in freezing temperatures is turn on any secondary heat sources, if available, such as a fireplace.

“If you haven’t already, begin preparing for other emergency conditions such as making sure there is enough clean drinking water available,” she said.

Here's a breakdown of the tips from Children’s Health about how to keep babies and kids warm when it’s freezing:

1. Layer up! Dress your baby in multiple layers and don’t forget a hat and socks.

“Parents should keep in mind that infants do not self-regulate their body temperatures well, which puts them more at risk for getting hypothermia,” Hu said. “As a rule of thumb, infants should be in one more layer than what parents are wearing.”

2. Use a body carrier to keep your baby close and provide extra warmth.

“Parents can use body carriers as another way to provide extra warmth for babies,” Hu said. “Do not co-sleep as a way to provide body heat, as it increases the risk for sudden infant death syndrome and accidental suffocation. For older children, sleeping bags are good for insulating heat.”

3. Move away from the cold.

Keep cribs several feet away from windows, vents and exterior walls.

4. Maintain crib safety at all costs.

Use fitted sheets as extra layers for a baby’s mattress. Avoid using loose blankets in cribs.

5. Swaddle your baby.

Or, place your baby in a sleep sack with hands and feet covered to trap body heat.

6. Always operate generators outside to keep your family safe.

“If you intend to use a generator, be sure to do so safely by making sure the generator is outside and at a safe distance from your home,” Hu said.

7. When warming up in your car, park your car outside in fresh air to avoid exhaust fumes.

Hu stressed that families facing indefinite power outages should consider outside help.

“If power is expected to be out indefinitely, consider going to a warming center, friend or family’s home with heat, especially if you have infants,” she said.

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