Keeping Children Safe in the Ice and Snow

Snow can be a wonderful learning experience for children of all ages... do they know that no two snowflakes are the same... try to catch some and use magnifying glasses to look closely at them. There are lots of activities we can do with children to teach them more about ice and snow, from making snowmen to decorating the room with home-made snowflakes.

Day to Day Hazards

Snow can also be dangerous: help the children to write a risk assessment which covers severe weather conditions such as snow and ice. Cover day-to-day hazards such as…

Outings – dangerous driving conditions might lead to a car accident: listen to local radio reports and follow police advice;

Collecting children from other settings – what do the children think you should do if it is too dangerous to leave the house? What might need to happen if the paths are slippy?

Heating – what will you do if the heating goes off? What do the children think ought to happen? Do the children understand that sometimes you might need to close? For your risk assessment think about ensuring children have appropriate footwear and the importance of following marked pathways. If a child is hurt on school property, let the school know so they can review their risk assessment.

Ice on the drive – you are covered by your insurance if you have taken all reasonable care to warn parents about the dangerous conditions and made the drive as safe as you can for yourself and your family. Do not be tempted to clear ice from paths you do not own.

Clothes and shoes – what will happen if children arrive without suitable clothes to wear? Through your activities, encourage them to remind their parents what clothes they need in their bags for inside and outside play in a morning depending on the weather conditions outside.

Weather forecast – watch it together on the television or an app and discuss what it means with the children. Ensure parents know about any outings you are taking with their children and make every effort to let parents know if you are going to be delayed and take some snacks and plenty of water and blankets with you on outings in case you are stuck.

Late arrival of parents – to help the children understand their parents might sometimes be late, talk to them about what might happen if their parents are late or delayed by the bad weather… how do they think they will get home? Ask parents to keep in contact with you – they might appreciate a business card for their purse / wallet as well.

Getting cold – alert children to the changes they might feel in their bodies when playing outside and remind them of the importance of wearing appropriate clothes, keeping moving around and telling you if they are feeling cold. If the weather is dangerous ensure children stay inside.

Boiler breaks - if the heating goes off risk assess – do you need to ring parents to collect? Can you keep the house warm in other ways?

Footwear – chat about treads on shoes and boots with the children and do some experiments. What shoes slip and which are safe? Make pictures of repeating shoe and boot patterns to support understanding.School closure – explain to parents that you will make every effort to collect their children if it is safe for you to go outside. However, you might not be able to collect early depending on the other children in your care at the time and following police advice.

Advice from the Police

Advice from the police for travelling in cars in inclement weather conditions includes –

• Carry a small spade / shovel;

• Have blankets on the back seat (not boot in case the lock freezes);

• Wear or take a thick winter coat and sturdy winter boots and take hats and gloves;

• Wear or take a thick winter coat and sturdy winter boots and take hats and gloves;

• Ensure mobile phones are fully charged and in credit;

• Make sure you have plenty of petrol, in case your journey is delayed and the police advise you to stay in your vehicle;

• Do not attempt to complete a journey by walking – follow police advice and stay with your car;

• Contact the emergency services if you are concerned about driving conditions.

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