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Keeping children safe in frigid temperatures

Bitter, cold temperatures put children at risk for hypothermia and frostbite.

A South Bend Clinic doctor says many of the old tips and tricks are incorrect.

As kids head out to school or tag along for last minute shopping, Dr. Tom Soisson is reminding parents how to keep them warm and healthy.

“Layers always works better than thickness,” Soisson said.

While one thick layer is good, many thin layers built up is better.

Soisson says even after many layers, kids still need breaks from the outdoors, especially as the snow melts.

“Wet and cold is the first thing most likely to cause damage when they’re not only cold but wet in addition,” Soisson said.

A big risk is hypothermia, which parents can test for with a thermometer.

“They’ll just act kind of sluggish and just not quite normal mentally,” Soisson says of hypothermia symptoms.

Soisson says another big risk, frostbite, is often treated incorrectly.

He suggests holding affected hands, never rubbing them.

The frostbitten areas should also be treated with warm water instead of hot.

“If you think you have frostbite you absolutely should call your physician,” Soisson said.

For the kids too young for school, the doctor recommends keep outdoor exposure to a minimum.

For those who are headed to school, Soisson recommends warm boots and two layers of socks.

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