Baby It’s Cold Outside!
Top 10 Tips on dressing your baby or toddler for a Kootenay winter.
We get lots of parents in the store concerned that they’re not dressing their infant or toddler correctly for the weather. So we’ve put together some tips to help provide some pointers to help (or reassurance that you’re doing just fine).
Layering’s the way to go…
Remember babies don’t move much if in a stroller or carrier, so it makes sense to dress them warmer when they’re stationary. If going in and out of places or your vehicle, it can be useful to have them layered – then easily add or remove clothing as required.
Read the signs:
Unless they’re gifted at sign-language, babies can’t tell you that they’re too hot or cold, so the parent has to be proactive here by checking them. Warm toes and a hot tummy suggest they’re overdressed. If their body feels cool, you’ll need to add more warmth.
Find the right footwear
If your baby isn’t at the walking stage yet, there’s really no need to put them in little snow boots. Make the transition from inside-to-out easier for parent and child by keeping them in a warm slipper (we recommend wool Paidraigs) then simply pull on some waterproof /insulated overbooties (either Stonz or Molehill ones work well). For extra cozy toesies consider little smartwool socks.
When infants are walking beware of winter boots that are too heavy or don’t open up enough to fit their feet into. An option that seems to work well are Kamiks' Snowbug boots, which are light, waterproof and warm yet open right up at the front to make them easy to get in and out of. More solid boots seem better suited to children ages 24m+.
Consider using base layers
This may surprise you but babies (even newborns) actually sweat quite a lot. The base layer lies on top of your baby’s skin so if you can wick that away the child will be dryer and warmer. Ideal base layers are clothes made of very soft fine wool (like merino) and polyester (which helps maintain warmth by giving an insulating layer and wicking moisture away from the body). Wool is also excellent at wicking moisture and will feel warmer, but is more expensive and will usually shrink when washed (some brands like Wee Woolies less so).
Make use of winter accessories
We were always told as kids that hats are essential in cold weather as most heat lost is through your head. This myth has now been debunked, but hats do still keep in about 10% of the body’s heat, so they are still a benefit on cooler days. They keep the ears warm too which adds to a child comfort level. A balaclava is useful where there is wind chill – especially if you’re on the slopes as they help keep out spray and prevent frostbite. Fleece is good because it dries quick and is warm, but wool even better (as it will stay warm even if wet).
Protect the extremities by getting some mitts (with no fingers if very young). For babies wool mitts are generally fine, as it’s less likely they’ll be getting their hands wet, but for toddlers of snowball making age, then waterproof ones with a good insulation are key. At this age getting some only for the hill and a second pair for daycare or home use is wise, as they do tend to get lost easily. Consider using clips that attach them to the sleeve so they don’t go astray – or get some attached together with string.
Forgo the scarf
Scarves are definitely not good for babies and they could be a strangulation hazard for toddlers too, so if you must put one on your child it may be smart to ensure it’s tucked in under their jacket, and be cautious about sending them to daycare with them.
Dress them differently for the car
Layer up and be prepared to remove snowsuits when getting into cars. When in the car Health Canada advises that slippery fabric used for many snowsuits can make car seat restraints less effective. Furthermore bulky snowsuits can feel tight initially when you fasten the child in the car, but this may be too loose if a collision occurred. Learn more about car safety via this link
Consider using a cover that goes over the car-seat or stroller to add warmth and help protect from the elements. The BundleMe by JJ Cole is a popular option, as it doesn’t interfere with the seatbelt straps, so is safe from stroller to car. While they’re under one of these, a snowsuit won’t be needed, so it’s easier each time you need to go in and out with your baby.
Get back to basics with a blanket
A blanket is another time-tested option to add more warmth if needed in the car (if placed over the straps), or anywhere come to that. Blankets are easier to take on and off than clothes and provide instant warmth.
Use Sleepsacks for winter nights
A sleepsack, these generally work better than sheets and comforters because they won’t get pulled off to leave the baby with a chill. Consider fleece vs flannel over winter, or a lightly quilted option.
What's your top winter tip for infants or toddlers during winter? Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org