Children with physical or cognitive limitations may become colder faster because they may not be able to move around or articulate that they are cold. Here are some tips for keeping children with special needs warm and toasty in the winter:

  • For children who wear splints, look for snow boots that unzip low or have VELCRO®-type closures, making them easier to put on and take off.
  • For children who use a wheelchair, consider making a large, vertical slit up the back of their coat, making it easier to put on and take off.
  • Legwarmers are a good extra layer of warmth. They are easy to slip over clothing and then remove once indoors.
  • For kids who can’t tolerate a hat due to sensory issues, fleece headbands or earmuffs are a great alternative.
  • Keep extra blankets available for car rides or for use over the legs in the wheelchair.

Here are some other tips for safely managing winter:

  • Invest in snow tires for your child’s wheelchair. Tires made from a soft rubber work best for gripping snow and ice.
  • Carry rock salt in a backpack to throw on icy spots.
  • If your child is dependent on electronic medical equipment, make plans now to ensure their needs are met if winter weather results in power outages.
  • Register your child as a special-needs individual with your local utility company to become a priority customer during blackouts and emergencies.

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