Because we are too timid to face those stupid heads who say… “they never closed school when I was young. I remember it snowed one time”… We should be punching people like that in the mouth; not cowering in fear of stupid bags of wind who lost their last vestiges of rational thought eons ago….

As adults. we dash out of our warm house, into a warm car, and into our warm place of work…  So tomorrow, get up early, say 6:30, and go stand on your curb for 20-30 minutes.   With cold weather buses don’t work so good so delays are the rule, rather than the exception…  Go ahead… It will be zero degrees… Do it!

Pussy!… but you’ll make kids do it so you look tough…. Pussy!

Because of their unique physiology, children are more susceptible to temperature extremes and their health effects. Children are less able to regulate their body temperature compared with adults. As a result, children are more likely to develop significant health effects when they are exposed to environmental temperature extremes.

Because they are less able to regulate their body temperature than adults, children can quickly develop a dangerously low body temperature (ie, become hypothermic).  Children and adults respond to cold extremes by shivering, developing “goose bumps”, and experiencing lethargy and a slow heart rate. Eventually the shivering ends, and disorientation and lack of responsiveness occur. Severe hypothermia can also result in arrhythmias, an abnormal beating of the heart.

So if it is too cold for you to go out and stand 20-30 minutes… why do you think children who are more prone to hypothermia, should bear the exception?

If we are going to put children in harm’s way, we should at the very minimum, use OSHA’s standards for workers as a guide… If we have minimum standards for adults, who are less inclined to suffer hypothermia, shouldn’t those at the very minimum be put in place for children?

OSHA says we can put workers in cold stress if we:

train workers on how to prevent and recognize cold stress illnesses and injuries and how to apply first aid treatment. Workers should be trained on the appropriate engineering controls, personal protective equipment and work practices to reduce the risk of cold stress.

provide engineering controls. For example, radiant heaters may be used to warm workers in outdoor security stations. If possible, shield work areas from drafts or wind to reduce wind chill.

use safe work practices. For example, it is easy to become dehydrated in cold weather. Employers therefore, can provide plenty of warm sweetened liquids to workers.  Avoid alcoholic drinks. If possible, employers can schedule heavy work during the warmer part of the day. Employers can assign workers to tasks in pairs (buddy system), so that they can monitor each other for signs of cold stress. Workers can be allowed to interrupt their work, if they are extremely uncomfortable. Employers should give workers frequent breaks in warm areas. Acclimatize new workers and those returning after time away from work, by gradually increasing their workload, and allowing more frequent breaks in warm areas, as they build up a tolerance for working in the cold environment. Safety measures, such as these, should be incorporated into the relevant health and safety plan for the workplace.

Dressing properly is extremely important to preventing cold stress. The type of fabric worn also makes a difference. Cotton loses its insulation value when it becomes wet. Wool, silk and most synthetics, on the other hand, retain their insulation even when wet. The following are recommendations for working in cold environments:

  • Wear at least three layers of loose fitting clothing. Layering provides better insulation. Do not wear tight fitting clothing.
    • An inner layer of wool, silk or synthetic to keep moisture away from the body.
    • A middle layer of wool or synthetic to provide insulation even when wet.
    • An outer wind and rain protection layer that allows some ventilation to prevent overheating.
  • Wear a hat or hood to help keep your whole body warmer. Hats reduce the amount of body heat that escapes from your head.
  • Use a knit mask to cover the face and mouth (if needed).
  • Use insulated gloves to protect the hands (water resistant if necessary).
  • Wear insulated and waterproof boots (or other footwear).

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Do all our kindergarteners and elementary students know the signs of hypothermia or frost bite?  Can they all perform first aid on each other?

Do all our bus stops have wind breaks?  And radiant heaters?

Are our bus stops equipped to dispense warm sweet beverages?  Hot Chocolate?  With Whipped Cream?  And cherries?  Do we have a buddy system where kids monitor each other for signs of cold stress?

Are we 100% positive that every child, especially those who only have one set of clothes, will be dressed in an inner, middle, and outer layer of clothing? Are we guaranteeing that hats will be manditorily worn?  Are we guaranteeing all children will have knit masks to breath through?  Do all those waiting have insulated boots and gloves?

OSHA requires it.

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Btw, does everyone know one should not rub frost bitten areas? Doing so will cause more damage which is permanent….. 

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One of the funniest things stressed by OSHA is to regulate cold activities to the warmest parts of the day… Yet we put children out at 6:30 am, when the temperature hits zero at it’s coldest, and say they need such rigor in  order to build character…  What we really need are some brains for our decision makers….

At 0 degrees, frostbite sets in at 10 minutes…. Waiting 20 minutes for a bus is putting all children in harm’s way….

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