How Cold Is Too Cold To Play Outside In Winter?
All across the country, Americans woke up today to a blanket of snow thanks to a winter storm. For those with kids or those who are kids at heart, you may be planning to head out to sled or play in the snow but have you checked the outdoor temperature? It may actually be too cold to safely enjoy those winter activities.
Here in the Tri-State there is no shortage of places to go sledding and during a normal winter snow, we would be all for you piling on the layers and loading up the sled. Unfortunately, the current temperatures may actually be too dangerous. According to the Weather Channel, the high for today is only expected to reach 17 degrees. In fact, we aren't expected to have a high above freezing until Saturday when it's supposed to reach 34 degrees and even then, with winds expected to be blowing at 8 miles per hour, it will only feel like 27 degrees with the wind chill (Calculate wind chill for yourself with the National Weather Service at Weather.org)
So this brings us back to our original question. How cold is too cold to play outside? According to OK.gov, in the winter, anything above 32 degrees (including the wind chill) is considered GREEN or safe for children to play outside. Temperatures, including the wind chill between 13 - 31 degrees is considered YELLOW for caution and anything that feels like 9 degrees or below with the wind chill in considered RED and dangerous. OK.gov goes on to break down what to watch for in those yellow and red zone temperatures,
Condition YELLOW - use caution and closely observe the children for signs of being too hot or cold while outdoors. Clothing, sunscreen, and beverages are important. Shorten the length of outdoor time. INFANTS AND TODDLERS use precautions outlined in Condition Green. Clothing, sunscreen, and beverages are important. Shorten the length of time for outdoor play. YOUNG CHILDREN may insist they are not too hot or cold because they are enjoying playtime. Child care providers need to structure the length of time for outdoor play for the young child. OLDER CHILDREN need a firm approach to wearing proper clothing for the weather (they may want to play without coats, hats or mittens), applying sunscreen and drinking liquids while playing outdoors.
Condition RED - most children should not play outdoors due to the health risk. INFANTS/TODDLERS should play indoors and have ample space for large motor play. YOUNG CHILDREN may ask to play outside and do not understand the potential danger of weather conditions. OLDER CHILDREN may play outdoors for very short periods of time if they are properly dressed, have plenty of fluids. Child care providers must be vigilant about maximum protection of children.
So before you or your child head out to play, check the temperature and take into account the wind chill. If you still feel like it's a good idea to head out to play check out our list below of best places to sled in the Tristate and be sure that you bundle up, covering exposed skin and take frequent breaks to warm back up. If you do decide it's just not worth the risk, keep scrolling for 10 things you can do inside on a snow day.
KEEP READING: 8 Great Places for Sledding in Indiana & Kentucky
KEEP READING: 10 Things To Do When It's Too Cold To Play In The Snow
10 Must-Have Items To Keep In Your Car This Winter
10 Winter Driving Safety Tips from The Indiana State Police