1: Be Ready to Play Inside
No matter how well bundled a child is, and no matter how much that new sled wants a workout, children should not play outside during snowstorms. And even if there's no snow on the ground, there may be a point when it's just too cold to go outdoors. You don't want your child to run recklessly through the house, nor do you don't want him or her to sit in front of the television all day, munching on holiday candy. That's why it's important to have safe but active indoors activities on hand for the winter.
While it's always a good idea to have board games and art supplies on hand for those times when your family is snowed in, make an effort to think of ways that your children can safely move around when they can't get outside. Some ideas include playing dress-up, dance parties and beanbag tosses. Scavenger hunts and obstacle courses can be fun, too, as long as kids are limited to a defined, safe space. If it's safe to drive, take your kids to a local YMCA or indoor gym for fun and games.
2: Don't Mess with Fire
Once your kids come in from a long day of sledding and building snowmen, they'll probably want to relax in front of a hot fire, or at least enjoy some central heat. No matter how you heat your home, fires are a huge risk for families in the winter months. Before building a fire, install a smoke alarm on every floor of the home; you may also need acarbon monoxide detector, as this silent killer gives no warning of its presence.
If you use a fireplace, be sure that the screen is firmly attached, not free-standing, as a child could knock it over. You may want to install an extra fireplace gate if you have particularly adventurous tots on your hands, but regardless of how well-guarded the fireplace is, you should never leave a child unattended in a room where a fire is burning. Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach.
Thousands of fires each year are caused by space heaters. Don't let a child get too close to a space heater. In fact, don't let anything get too close to a space heater -- it should always be at least 3 feet (91 centimeters) away from particularly flammable things like curtains, bedding or furniture [source: Debrovner]. These devices should be turned off when you leave the room and when you go to sleep.
Even if you see yourself as the king or queen of fire safety, create a fire safety plan for your family and have fire drills for your children.