6.8 Weather Safety

Toddler coloring on blanket outside.

Photo by Caio, Pexels License.


The region of Southwestern Ontario faces extreme weather in multiple seasons of the year. The summer months can bring heat alerts while the winter months can face multiple cold weather alerts. Educators have many resources to support decision making around providing safe outdoor learning during these extreme weather alerts. Early years organizations have procedures for the use of sunscreen in the warmer months and recommendations for all weather clothing for the colder months. These measures allow children to enjoy the benefits of outdoor play while remaining safe during weather alerts.


Read the following information to understand more about weather alerts. Click on the highlighted weather related terms for additional measures to keep children and yourself safe during extreme weather.

Educators connect with Environment Canada through phones or digital devices to determine the UV Index rating, the air quality, or the temperatures to gauge the amount of time children can safely be outdoors. This information also helps to determine if additional safety measures need to be implemented such as water breaks, water features or water play for cooling off, additional layering of warm clothing, and reducing the amount of time spent outdoors. Educators communicate with one another to alternate the outdoor play periods to avoid peak times of high UV index ratings or extreme cold weather earlier in the day. Early years settings are often notified by their local public health units of extreme weather alerts. These alerts are accompanied by information regarding safety measures that can be implemented.

Educators working with infants may reduce the exposure by staying indoors to ensure younger children who may be more susceptible to dangers from extreme weather are protected. Organizations have policies to help guide these decisions, in conjunction with alerts provided by public health. Toddler, preschool, and school age children may be able to tolerate shorter periods of outdoor play during extreme weather alerts. It is important to be able to recognize the signs of distress such as heat exhaustion or frostbite.

Note: Licensed home child cares are not permitted to have standing or recreational bodies of water present when providing care for children under the age of six. For children over the age of six, a lifeguard must be present when bodies of water are available or being accessed.
(OME, 2014)


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Holistic Care and Wellness in Early Years Settings Copyright © 2023 by Barbara Jackson and Sheryl Third is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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