As a Public Health Nurse working in the Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program, I am asked every day: Is it safe to take my baby outside?
My answer is YES, I recommend you go outside for a discovery walk (everyday if you can).
Here’s my top 5 benefits of a discovery walk:
- Opportunity for new learning
Babies and young children love to pay attention to new things. When you are out on a discovery walk, talk about the birds that you hear and the noises that they make. Talk about the vehicles they see and what they do. Let them touch the snow and describe how it feels.
- Improves mental well being
The research is in – walking can improve mood and feelings of mental well-being. What parent of a toddler who has been cooped up inside all day could not benefit from more feelings of well-being. If you need an extra dose head to the park where being surrounded by nature can increase the effects!
Gets us moving
For many of us the pandemic has caused us to sit more and move less. . A brisk walk can help us meet our weekly physical activity requirements of 150 minutes. Getting our young children out walking in the snow can help children use up some of their never ending energy!
Physical activity reduces stress and helps us sleep better. Make a brisk walk part of your family’s routine for improved sleep for everyone!
- Changes our view
Four walls can feel overwhelming when we spend all day stuck inside. A brief walk outside can help shift our view and make the day feel more manageable. If a walk becomes part of the family routine, it can be a time in the day that everyone looks forward to!
Walking safely outdoors:
- Choose a time in your neighbourhood when it is less busy to venture outdoors
- Only walk with members of your own household
- Keep your distance from others outside of your own household. Wear a mask if you can’t physically distance from others (like in the elevator or common areas of your building)
- Wear proper footwear and dress for the weather
- Wash your hands when you return home
If you have questions about taking care of baby, speak to a Public Health Nurse on eChat or call (416) 338-7600.