Categorized | Health, Toddler Sickness

Causes, Signs, Treatment and Prevention of Frostbite In Children

The cold season is a time for viruses to spread which causes colds and flu in children. However, it can also cause frostbite in children. Frostbite can be very painful and uncomfortable for toddlers. Thus, it is very important for parents to know about frostbite in children. Here is a guide that will help you learn the causes, signs, treatment and prevention of frostbite in children.

What causes frostbite in children?

Frostbite in children is basically caused by exposure to very low temperature which exposes certain areas of the body such as the ears, nose, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes to extreme cold which can become frozen. This is because the skin and the body tissue beneath freezes. A toddler’s skin becomes very cold, then numb, hard and pallid. Toddlers are more at risk of incurring frostbite because of their sudden drops in body temperatures when in the outdoors.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The following are some common signs and symptoms of frostbite in children:

Skin Discoloration

The most common indication that a toddler has frostbite is when the skin exposed to extreme cold turns red and inflamed. If the skin is exposed for a long period of time, it will then appear to be white or purplish in color (looks like a bruise).

Skin Cracks or Has Blisters

A part of the skin that has been frostbitten feels odd when you touch it. Some toddlers may experience cracking and blistering which can be very discomforting. The skin can also appear shiny and puffy or flaky and hard to touch.

Strange Skin Sensations

A toddler with frostbite might feel a burning or prickling sensation. As the frostbite exacerbates, the toddler might feel numbness and the pain might subside but this just actually means that the frostbite is aggravating.

Speech and Dexterity Problems

Another sign of frostbite in children is when a toddler has trouble speaking due to the loss of body heat. You may also notice a toddler having difficulty with his dexterity.

How is frostbite in children treated?

If you notice that one or more of these symptoms are experienced by your toddler, then it is very essential that you follow these tips for treating frostbite in children.

Warm The Body

Warm the body as soon as possible without placing heat directly on the affected areas. Do not touch your toddler’s affected skin. Instead, move your toddler to a warm location. Remove his wet clothing and dress your toddler in dry and warm clothes. Wrapping his body with a blanket can also help.

Seek Medical Help

Immediate medical attention is necessary as your toddler is at risk of infection or permanent tissue damage. The doctor will be able to prescribe good recommendations for treating your toddler’s frostbite (e.g. applying topical creams or skin grafting for severe cases). The doctor will also check for hypothermia (extreme low body temperature).

Re-warm Affected Areas Gradually

For superficial or minor cases of frostbite, what you need to do is to re-warm the affected parts slowly. You can gently tuck your toddler’s hands under your armpits. Applying warm compress also helps. You can also immerse your toddler’s fingers and toes in lukewarm (not hot) water – about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Giving your toddler something warm to drink such as milk, tea, water or soup can also provide comfort.

A word of advice: Never rub your toddler’s fingers or use a heating device (e.g. hairdryer) to warm the affected areas as this will only increase the damage in the skin tissue.

How can frostbite be prevented?

Supervise Your Toddler Outdoors

Letting your toddler play during cold weather is perfectly fine. But, do make sure to keep the time he spends outside short, say 15 to 20 minutes. Make it a point to check his face, ears, fingers and toe every so often so you can check for signs of frostbite.

Dress Your Toddler For The Weather

Another way to prevent frostbite in children is to dress toddlers appropriately. Meaning, you have to make sure you dress your little one in layers. Have your toddler wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, jacket, scarf, hat, mittens, socks and well-fitting boots.

Keep Your Toddler Dry

See to it your toddler stays dry outdoors. Whenever he gets wet, remove wet clothes at once because moisture draws off heat from the skin.

Always be vigilant during cold, windy days. Wind makes the skin lose heat faster, which enhances your toddler’s risk of frostbite.

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