Properly Dressing Kids in the Cold As They Head Off to School

DES MOINES, Iowa – Des Moines Public Schools resume classes Wednesday and it is important children are properly dressed in the frigid temperatures.

Unity Point Physician Assistant Nate Fuller said when the temperature is below 13 degrees with wind chill it can take as little as five minutes for frostbite to occur.

Symptoms of frost bite include:

  • Reduced sensation of touch
  • Skin burning sensation
  • Stinging sensation
  • Pale to red and purple like skin color

Fuller said to not go outside if you don’t have to.

“Try to minimize the amount of time they have to stand out there. Drive them there, let them sit in the car. At my house with my kids we let the neighborhood kids wait in our garage, because the bus stop is right on our corner. They shield themselves from the wind and when the bus comes they can run out there real quick on hop on,” Fuller said.

Fuller advises parents to dress kids in multiple layers when waiting for the bus. The layers should be items of clothing that are easily removable.

“Kids tend to want to just be out and want to play. They might ignore some of those beginning signs of cold injury or frost bite. So, it’s really the parents responsibility to remind the kids to one dress approtiately with the proper clothing and to just remind them to come inside and warm up,” Fuller said.

DMPS released a statement on school closing procedures:

When extreme weather is imminent, the DMPS operations staff and the superintendent actively monitor precipitation, temperature, wind chill and road conditions. The superintendent stays in contact with the superintendents of neighboring districts, and we get information from the National Weather Service, the Des Moines Public Works department, and other sources to ensure the most comprehensive information is available to inform a decision.

The superintendent also considers the ripple effect a “snow day” has on the entire community: not only for the 33,000 students and 5,000 employees but for tens of thousands of parents and family members, many of whom must go to work no matter the weather.

The goal is to have a decision about the next day prior to the 10:00 p.m. news, but that is rarely practical. Weather conditions can change rapidly, for better or worse, overnight. An announcement about a cancellation or delay in the school day is made as early as possible, and no later than 6:00 a.m.