Pediatricians' Tips for What Your Kids Should Wear This Winter
We don’t see much snow or even the old “wintery mix” in Texas, so when we do there’s a good bet your kids will want to head outside.
Dressing your children appropriately when the mercury plunges is particularly important. Failing to do so can result in serious harm.
To ensure your children stay safe during this bitter blast, it’s important to identify the fine line between too much clothing and too little.
“You don’t want your children to be so bundled up that they sweat and lose moisture,” said Frank McGehee, M.D., a Cook Children’s pediatrician in Fort Worth (Magnolia). “However, you also don’t want your child exposed to hypothermia by playing outside in the cold without the proper or wet clothes. The key is to dress your children in layers that can be easily put on and taken off, depending on the ages and responsibility levels of the kids.”
Essential items include hats and gloves that your kids will actually wear, as well as sweatshirts or T-shirts that can be layered under overcoats or jackets on very cold days.
Keep in mind the following clothing tips for your children so you can properly stock their closet for winter’s arrival:
- For the most warmth, dress your little ones in wool instead of cotton.
- Make sure your children wear long underwear on particularly chilly days.
- Purchase waterproof pants and jackets to keep your children’s underlying layers of clothing dry during snowy weather.
- Don’t let your children go outside without warm gloves, socks, boots and a hat.
“Infants have the same temperature intolerance as adults, but they lose more heat through their heads,” Dr. McGehee said. “A hat is one of the most important pieces of winter clothing for infants.”
Newborns aren't able to manage their body temperature like adults can. So, as the thermostat dips, the way you handle outings with little ones needs to change.
Know your babies' limits and plan ahead when making a trip outside so you can keep them well this winter.
Before infants head outdoors, make sure they are wearing fresh diapers and are insulated against the cold and wet.
"A good rule of thumb is to dress newborns in as many layers as you're wearing," said Diane Arnaout, M.D., FAAP, a Cook Children's pediatrician in Willow Park. "That includes covering their heads, hands and feet. Those areas can lose a lot of heat and be harder to keep warm."
As a mom of young children, Dr. Arnaout has first-hand experience in facing area winters with a newborn. She recommends using socks to keep tiny hands and feet warm, knit hats for infant heads and sunglasses to keep the bright winter sun out of little eyes.
It's important to regularly check on newborns while you're together outdoors. Babies tend to fuss when they're uncomfortable, so if they are crying or restless while you're out and about, it may be time to move outside.
To see if infants are getting too cold, check their ears, nose, hands and feet regularly. If your own nose or ears are cold or your lips and becoming chapped, odds are it's too cold outside for babies.
Blue skin, shivering and a cool chest and stomach are signs that children may be dangerously cold. If you see these signs, take action immediately to get kids out of the cold. Seek immediate medical attention if you're not able to warm the body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, "is a dangerous condition that can occur when a person is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Stay safe this winter by learning more about hypothermia, including who is most at risk, signs and symptoms, and what to do if someone develops hypothermia." To learn more about the warning signs of hypothermia, click on this site from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Victims of hypothermia include babies sleeping cold rooms.
Warning signs for adults include:
- Shivering, exhaustion
- Confusion, fumbling hands
- Memory loss, slurred speech drowsiness
- Bright red, cold skin
- Very low energy