The country has nearly ground to a halt as #thebeastfromtheeast and #stormemma bring temperatures and snow that Ireland just isn’t used to or prepared for.
Having grown up with frosty, snowy winters, I thought I’d share a few tips on keeping your family safe in the arctic conditions this spring 2018, so you still get to enjoy the rare winter and are aware of things to look out for on the road.
Put several layers on everyone’s top and bottom half, including feet. Tights are a great base layer for little ones. Leggins or PJ bottoms work a treat too. Don’t forget an extra pair or two of socks!
Your outer layer should be wind- an waterproof, so think rain gear, if you don’t have snow gear. Be mindful of gaps at ankles, waist and neck in particular, especially when the wind is howling. Close these by tucking base layers into socks and trousers. Use scarves over hoods or balaclava hats under hoods.
There’s a great selection of cosy layering options made with natural fibres in our clothing section – they’ll bring some colour to your winter too.
Keeping the littlest ones warm
The safest place for babies to enjoy this weather is in a baby carrier or baby sling, close to the wearer’s body, under the same outer layer as them. You don’t need to have specialist equipment for your winter outings! There’s a few DIY ideas, as well tips on layering, in this article.
For the wearer to be on safe footing, it’s best to have baby in an ergonomic position in the sling on the wearer’s body. To prevent slipping, you can stick masking tape or plasters (the kind that comes in a long strip to cut off) to the soles of your shoes, or slip on spikes.
No coats under seat belts
Winter coats trap air in inside puffy fibre, in order to insulate against the cold. When you need to break suddenly, the fibres compress more than you are able to when tightening the seat belt. For a three point harness, this means that children can then slip through the belt as they are being catapulted forward. In a three-point belt, the lap belt can ride up into the abdomen. More information , including a video demonstration, can be found here.
Wet shoes and boots
When you come back inside from your snow joys, make sure you dry your footwear for the next use! Stuff shoes and boots with newspaper, put them on a sheet of newspaper near a source of heat. And remember that wellies don’t insulate against the cold, so put on as many socks as you can fit in. They also tend to be very slippy on snow and ice…
Emergency kit for your car
If you absolutely do have to go out in the car, clear the tyres from slush and snow all around first, particularly at the front. When these accumulations compact, they can block the wheels from steering.
Clear your car completely of snow before you set off. Snow blown or sliding from the roof and bonnet can suddenly block your view or land on other car’s windscreens. There’s a reason other countries issue penalty points for failure to clear your car!
Be mindful that compacted snow turns to ice (which is why it’s a good idea to clear drives, steps and footpaths). With fresh snow being blown on top, it can be impossible to see these patches. Tyres on Irish cars are not made for these conditions. This will continue to be an issue when snow melts and refreezes over the coming days.
Have an emergency kit with you in case you get stuck: blankets, torch or candle and lighter, fully charged phone, flask with hot drink, hi-vis jacket.
Wishing you and your family a safe snow break!
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