How to Dress Your Child for Winter
From the first snowfall to the official snow day, children won’t want to wait to get out and play in the white stuff. But before sending your child out into a winter wonderland, you’ll want to make sure they’re properly dressed.
Layering is the name of the game. Bundle your kid up and then you can remove layers as needed. Children should generally wear one more layer than an adult, but don’t go overboard. It’s important for your child to stay warm without overheating, conserving heat while letting steam escape.
Long-sleeved thermal undershirts, turtlenecks, shirts, and sweaters are all at your disposal to keep your child’s top half warm when outdoors. Avoid cotton – it’s not especially warm and accelerates heat loss by absorbing sweat – and choose layers that are easy enough to remove as your kid warms up during the heat of play!
Materials like cotton, jeans and khakis won’t keep your child very warm, so look for fleece-lined pants. Layer them with thermal or woolen long underwear if you want an extra boost.
When it comes to coats, boots and gloves, waterproof and insulated are the words to live by to keep your child dry and warm. Fleece-lined hats with flaps, facemasks and ear muffs are great, but ultimately you’ll want to go with whatever hat your kid will wear!
Hats, Coats, Action!
Dressing your child for a snow day is only half the battle. Hydration is just as essential during winter activity. That breath your child loves to see is a loss of valuable fluids just like sweat. Encourage kids to come in for 20 minute breaks to warm up, stay hydrated and fend off overexertion.
Be sure to encourage children to listen to their bodies. If they’re shivering or their teeth are chattering, take a time-out to warm up. Frostbite is not immediately visible, so emphasize to your child the importance of telling an adult if he or she experiences a loss of feeling. Hypothermia could also be a greater risk for children due to limited body fat and a decreased ability to shiver.
“Small infants and children are particularly susceptible to cold stress and the effects of hypothermia,” says Arie L. Habis, MD, medical director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago at Northwestern Medicine - Central DuPage Hospital. “Initial mild hypothermia can be treated by removing all wet clothing, drying the skin immediately and providing additional warmth.”