Babies and Older Adults Have an Increased Risk of Cold Injury
Babies, especially newborns, are more likely to suffer injury from
cold temperature exposure.
- They have a large body surface area compared with
their weight. Their body heat is lost more rapidly when exposed to cold weather
- Their ability to regulate body temperatures is not
well-developed. They are not able to shiver (which warms a person
- They don't have much fat under their skin (which keeps them
Older adults are more likely to have a cold injury, especially
- Their normal body temperature may decrease with
- They can't regulate their body temperature as well. They do
not produce as much heat energy. They also have less body
- Their blood vessels do not narrow (constrict) and conserve
body heat as easily.
- They do not shiver as much. Shivering warms
- Their mental awareness of changes in temperatures may
- They have medical conditions that increase their risk for
hypothermia. Some of these conditions include:
- They are more likely to be using medicines that may
affect their response to cold.
- They may live alone and have fewer resources to keep them safe from
cold injury. They are more likely to have poorly heated homes.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Revised||April 15, 2013|