Exposure to below-freezing temperatures can cause frostbite, a rare but serious condition that needs emergency medical care. Frostbite can affect any area of the skin, and in extreme cold can develop within minutes.
Signs and Symptoms
aching pain or numbness, most often on hands, feet, face, and ears
skin that feels hard and waxy, with a white or grayish yellow color
What to Do
If you think your child has frostbite, call the doctor right away. Then:
Bring your child indoors immediately. Do not try to thaw frostbite unless you're in a warm place (warming and then re-exposing frozen skin to cold can cause permanent damage).
Remove wet clothing.
Don't rub frostbitten areas — treat them gently.
Don't use dry heat — such as a fireplace, oven, or heating pad — to thaw frostbite.
Don't break any blisters.
Warm the frostbitten parts in warm (not hot) water for about 30 minutes.
Place clean cotton balls between frostbitten fingers and toes after they've been warmed.
Loosely wrap warmed areas with clean bandages to prevent refreezing.
Stay updated on weather forecasts. Keep kids warm and dry in cold weather. Loose-fitting, layered warm clothes are best. Have kids wear well-insulated boots, thick socks, hats, scarves, and mittens. Ice packs applied directly to the skin can cause frostbite — always cover ice packs with a cloth before applying to the skin.