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Healthy Living Blog

Dressing kids during the Winter

December 02, 2019 | Dr. Aml Kelada


With one big snow under our belts and cold weather here to stay, it’s time to start thinking about how best to dress the kids for winter. It can be a hassle and confusing dressing your kids in this weather so here are some tips to help ease the process as we make our way to spring.

Keep track of the weather

As we all are well aware, Ohio weather varies dramatically especially in the winter. Always check the forecast before dressing your kids. When temperatures are right around freezing, your chances of getting wet increases. Air holds more moisture at the freezing point than when it is very cold making precipitation more likely than when temperatures are well below freezing.

Use Light Layers

In addition to making it easier to adjust their wardrobe based on weather and their activities, layers create an air space between the skin and the cold acting as insulation. Layers also tend to be looser, allowing for better circulation which maintains body temperature. A good rule of thumb is to have three layers:

  • The base layer should be a thin layer to cover the skin and keep moisture away from the body. Cotton shirts typically feel best on sensitive toddler skin and allow kids to move around more freely than bulky sweaters or sweatshirts.
  • The middle layer is the insulation layer. Fleece is a great choice for a middle layer but the middle layer can also be made up of several thin layers.
  • The outer layer protects from wind and water. A nylon material works well and it should have a high collar and a hood.

Hats and Mittens

A child’s head, face, ears, hands, and feet are the most prone to cold exposure and frostbite. Even if your child has a hood, a fitted hat is a good idea to help trap heat. Mittens tend to be better than gloves because they are easier to get on kids’ hands and are warmer because heat from their fingers stays together.

Car seat safety

Bulky or puffy coats made of nylon or similar slick materials can interfere with the safety of your child’s car seat. In an accident, the coat can compress and leave space under the harness so your child is not as securely strapped in as they would be without a coat. This is when those layers come in handy! Just take off the top coat and strap them in with middle and base layers only. Keep a blanket in the car to keep them warm while the car heats up.

Think about what your kids will be doing in the cold

Always keep in mind what you and your children will be doing. You want to make sure they can move around freely, you have easy access to change diapers, coats are easy to get on an off, and you can take a layer off if they running and/or sweating to avoid overheating or getting cold from the moisture.

Don’t forget the sunscreen

Just like in the summer, sun protection is important in the winter. Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every few hours.

Dr. Aml Kelada is a pediatrician with Fisher-Titus New Beginnings Pediatrics. New Beginnings Pediatrics is now accepting new patients and has same-day and next-day appointment availability. For appointments, call 419-668-9409.