After a record-breaking heat this summer and fall, it’s finally getting chilly outside here in the mid-Atlantic! Fall and spring are great times of year for walking to school, but winter walks give us a special opportunity to absorb some vitamin D, and move our bodies. With this opportunity, comes concern. Snow and ice may make sidewalks and paths difficult to traverse, and less daylight in the winter means that visibility becomes more of an issue. The ability to see the route, and be seen by traffic is important. The colder temperatures leave us vulnerable to frostbite, and cold air can be dehydrating.
Here are some tips for walkers and community members alike:
-Wear Layers! As you begin your journey, your body will likely feel cold. However, as you move and your blood starts flowing, you’ll warm up. If you’ve layered up, you’ll be able to remove unnecessary layers to avoid overheating. Wear a hat and gloves or mittens too.
-Stay visible! Bright or light colored outerwear is easier to see as our days get shorter. Reflective material, safety lights, and reflectors will also aid in keeping you visible in dark morning or evening conditions.
-Proper footwear! We all want to look our best, year round. However, winter conditions call for warm, sturdy shoes. Rubber soled shoes or boots will keep you safe and warm inside and out throughout the season. Add wool socks on an especially cold day!
-Stay hydrated! Remember that cold temperatures can be as dehydrating as very hot temperatures. Drink water throughout the day, but avoid eating snow for hydration, as it can interfere with maintaining safe body temperatures.
Keep in mind that a lot of children don’t have access to layers, accessories, and warm coats. Along with CIS of Richmond, we will be collecting and distributing new or gently used clean coats and warm jackets through the end of February. Please contact Safe Routes to School Coordinator Tara at firstname.lastname@example.org // (540) 848-1119 or Sara Beauchamp of CIS of Richmond at email@example.com to arrange drop-off or pickups for coats. If you cannot donate directly to us, please consider donating to your local coat drive.
Tara FitzPatrick, Safe Routes to School Coordinator