No matter how bad the weather is, kids will always have some energy to burn. So whether it’s scorching hot or below zero, your little ones will probably want to be outdoors playing and burning off steam.
Hot weather is not so much of an issue because you can always slather sunscreen on them – it’s the cold we are concerned about. Your young ones need protection against cold weather, and that means investing in the right kid’s winter clothes.
Yup! There is no way around it. Bantlings need to stay warm in winter. No, not overheating; just comfortable enough to play and enjoy the snowy weather.
Follow the tips below to properly dress your kids in winter. They will always come in handy whenever you go skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing with kids.
Layer Them Up
Make sure your kids have at least three layers of clothes before heading out in the snow. Simply put, they should have a base layer to wick moisture away, mid layer to seal in warmth, and a waterproof outer layer to protect them against moisture and wind.
The rule of thumb is to dress kids in one more layer than what you are wearing. Why? The pockets of air created between clothing layers help in trapping heat. Layering also helps your kids to remove or add clothes when atmospheric conditions change.
But don’t overdo it. Yes, layering will keep your kids warm, but too much of it might just make them colder instead. You see, the excess layer will cause your little ones to sweat, making their clothes wet, which will consequently bring their body temperature down.
When shopping for children’s winter clothes and especially the base layer, it would be wise to consider something made of acrylic, wool, polyester or merino wool. Merino wool is many parents’ favorite because it is extremely warm in cold weather and stays cool when the weather gets hot. It is also very soft on the skin, which makes it a good option even for children with allergies.
Ditch cotton at all costs. Cotton easily absorbs and retains moisture, which means it will trap cold sweat against the body increasing the health risks of your kids.
A fleece jacket will work perfectly as a middle layer outfit. This will provide moderate warmth to your child but unfortunately, it won’t keep rain or wind chill out. So if you are heading out in those conditions, your child will need to an extra layer of clothing for protection.
Softshell jackets, which combine insulation with wind and rain protection can be used in place of fleece jackets. Down jackets can be used as well but like fleece jackets, these too are not water-resistant and therefore your child might still get wet, hence the need for outerwear.
The outer layer is supposed to provide warmth and keep your child free of moisture. It’s a no brainer, therefore, that you should invest in something waterproof. Waterproof snow jackets, 3-in-1 jackets, and rain jackets can all be used as outer layers.
If you are going out with an infant, snowsuits will be your best option. These come in different temperature ratings to fit different weather conditions. Most will have a long zipper to help you change diapers easily. To be on the safe side, you may consider a snowsuit with fold over cuffs to keep the infant’s feet and hands covered and warm.
Winter pants for kids are mostly made from the same material as winter jackets. They fall under four categories:
Snow pants: These feature a waterproof and wind resistant shell with an insulating synthetic or down fill inside.
Overalls/snow bibs: Bibs provide more warmth than snow pants. They provide more coverage too, keeping out slushy snow and moisture. The only downside is that they are harder to remove during bathroom breaks. So if you have a newly potty trained kid, you may want to stick with the traditional snow pants.
Fleece pants: Just like a fleece jacket, a fleece pant will provide moderate warmth but won’t protect against wind and moisture. If you are going out in drizzly weather, your kid will still need a pair of rain pants.
Rain pants: These protect your child from wind and moisture. They are made of wind resistant and waterproof material to keep your young one warm and dry when the weather turns windy or rainy.
In addition to the above layers, your kids will need a warm pair of socks, gloves, and a hat to keep their feet, hands, and head warm.
Waterproof socks will be a way better option than the traditional hiking socks because unlike the latter, these won’t allow water to penetrate to your kids’ feet in the even snow sneaks inside their boots. They also provide extra warmth. Choose socks and boots that are well insulated and comfortable for the kids to walk in.
Get gloves or mittens for the hands too so the little fingers don’t go numb. And never have your kid out in the snow without a warm hat.
Additionally, if you are going out on a sunny afternoon, their delicate eyes will need protection from the sun glare, so have them put their sunglasses on. Just make sure the kids’ sunglasses have polarized lenses. Sunscreen will also come in handy on a sunny, snowy afternoon.
Factors To Consider When Dressing Your Kids In Winter
1. Go For Bright Colors
Kid’s winter clothes in brighter colors are more visible in snow than those in dull colors. Whenever possible, dress your little ones in snow coats and pants with reflective strips or neon elements so they are easily visible by other pedestrians, skiers, or snowboarders.
2. Check The Weather
Listen to the weatherman before taking your kids or allowing them to go out in the snow. You need to make sure that it is safe for them to play outside to avoid putting them in harm’s way.
Avoid taking your kids out if there are high winds or snowstorms. If the temperature is below 0˚F, make sure they only go out for a short period and most importantly get them dressed for it.
Check children periodically for signs of frostbite or frostnip, regardless of whether they complain of feeling cold or not. If the feet, hands, ears, face, or head have reddened or the child reports tingling or numbness, massage these areas with warm water (not hot) until sensation returns.
3. Buy Clothes For Your Climate
People who live in areas that experience lots of rain will need kids winter clothes with moisture management. A snow jacket or pant with synthetic insulation to handle moisture and a waterproof outer shell will make sense.
Kids living in areas that experience dry climates need to be prepared for severe cold. As such, super puffy down jackets and insulated gloves will be a more viable option.
4. Jacket Length And Hoods
The longer the snow jacket, the warmer your young one will be. Most winter jackets are hip or waist length to provide maximum insulation.
When it comes to hoodies, you will find similar adjustment features and designs like those found in adults. The only difference is that hoodies for younger kids and infants will have an elastic adjustment for safety and simplicity rather than a drawcord and tab adjustment.
5. Avoid Shopping By Temperature Ratings
Some winter jackets and pants come with a temperature rating. While this may come in handy when comparing the relative warmth of two pieces of clothing of the same brand, we don’t recommend relying on it when purchasing kids winter wear.
This is because many variables affect the amount of heat retained by clothes. For instance, children have different metabolisms. Also, weather conditions like rain and wind significantly affect the amount of body heat retained by certain pieces of cloth. Always buy your children’s winter clothes based on the climate of the area you live in, not the temperature ratings.
6. Think About The Activity Levels Of Your Kids
If you will all be undertaking an activity that continuously generates warmth, less puffy, lightweight jackets and pants will work. For instance, snowshoeing, skiing and snowboarding will not require as much clothing as ice fishing. You will be burning more energy in snowshoeing and riding than you will in ice fishing and therefore you will only require a simple base layer to minimize sweating.
7. Pack Extra Clothes
When going out in the snow, an extra change of clothes is essential. Things can get wet pretty quickly or your kids could lose some items. Trust us, the last thing you want is wet or lost a mitten, so have a dry bag with extra children’s winter clothes just in case.
8. Make Sure Clothes Fit
A comfortable child is a happy child, so make sure your kids feel comfortable in whatever they are dressed in. Snow boots and vests that are too close-fitting can limit blood circulation, which could contribute to cold limbs. Similarly, loose clothing may not provide the comfort your kids need to stay warm. Always make sure the clothes fit snuggly; not too tight and not too loose.
9. Check Your Kids Temperature
Some kids will be naturally warmer while others will run on the more cooler side. Whether yours is a little heater or always wrapped up in snowsuits, you will want them dressed for the weather.
Check your child’s temperature regularly by feeling their core when out in the snow. If it feels cold, throw in another layer. If too hot, remove a layer or two.
Constantly checking your child’s temperature will enable you to know when they are sweating or whether the base layer is keeping them as warm as they need to be. It is the surest way to keep the fun going.
10. Preheat Footwear
Place kids’ snow boots near a heater before heading out in the snow. Having the kids starting with warm feet gives you more time out there. If their feet are cold from the beginning, they may not be able to spend as much time in the ice as you would have wished.
Signs It’s Too Cold For Your Child
Children lose heat much faster than adults, so you may want to be on the lookout for even the slightest changes in your little ones. When the kids are extremely cold, they will seem unresponsive or clumsy and their temperature will have dropped below the normal level. These could be signs of hypothermia. In extreme cases, kids may become unconscious, a medical emergency.
Young kids are also prone to frostbite, so check their cheeks, ears, nose, fingers, and toes for any changes. The affected area may turn pale gray or white and in extreme cases feel hard or waxy. If your little one shows any of these signs, breathe warm air on their skin or try soaking the area in warm water.
Your kids may not notice that they are too cold because they are too busy having fun, so keep checking up on them regularly. Sometimes, you may want to add an extra layer of clothing on them just to be on the safe side.
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There are always times when it’s too cold outside and curling up at the fireplace with your kids feels better than taking them outdoors. Sure, hibernating is not a crime, but for the healthy growth of your little ones, they need to stay active, and that means playing outside.
Layering your little ones properly will keep them protected against the cold when out in the snow. A good base and mid layer will seal in heat and keep them cozy and an outer layer will keep them dry. Just make sure to keep checking your kids for signs of frostbite or hypothermia and know when to head for warmth.
- Dressing For The Cold, aboutkidshealth.ca