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3 Tips for Dressing Your Kids for the Cold

Posted on January 17 2017

Dressing your kids for the frigid days of winter can be trickier than you’d think, especially for the little ones. After all, they can’t tell you whether or not they’re comfortable. So, the job inevitably falls to you. As parents, the tendency is to overdo it with layers, but this can be just as dangerous as skimping. Little bodies lose heat rapidly, so it’s important to know the art of dressing your kids for the cold. Here are some helpful tips to ensure your little ones are not too hot, not too cold, but just right this winter.

Layering 101

First and foremost, to dress your kids properly for the cold, you need to know the basics of layering. There are three fundamental layers: base, insulation, protective.

Base: The first layer is the base, which regulates temperature and moves moisture away from the body. It fits snugly against the skin. Opt for materials like merino wool, synthetic fibers (i.e. polyester), or a combination of both. Cotton is a bad choice for a base layer, as it actually soaks up moisture instead of moving it away from the body. Wet cotton + cold weather = freezing kids.

Insulation: The middle layer is the insulation that will retain body heat in the fabric. It’s a versatile layer, as it can consist of wool, down, fleece, polyester, or other synthetics. Just make sure this layer is movable, yet still snug enough to hold in the heat.

Protective: The outer layer is what protects your kids from the rain, snow, or wind. It can range from a light windbreaker to a heavy winter coat. It should be tough enough to stand up to wear and tear, allow for each movement, and be breathable (especially for those active littles ones).

Rule of Thumb

The winter weather rule of thumb for dressing your kids, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, is to dress them in one additional layer of clothing than you would wear in the same conditions. If you’re comfortable in the cold in three layers, put your little one in four. Simple!

Protect Extremities

Last, but definitely not least, protect those extremities! Your child’s head, face, ears, hands, and feet are most prone to frostbite! Hats, scarves, waterproof boots, non-cotton socks, and waterproof gloves are a must in cold weather. It may seem excessive, but frostbite and hypothermia are not things to mess with.

Know when to go inside and when your children have had enough. If their little teeth start to chatter, go and relax by the fireplace instead.