Most people enjoy winter, at least a little bit, for a little while. The feeling of coming home to a warm house, throwing off your coat, scarf, and mittens and experiencing that indescribable feeling of being home, warm and safe from the cold. As parents, we want to be sure that we do the right things to keep our children safe. That includes providing them with the right gear for the cold.
Keeping kids warm in the winter is going to vary depending on where you live of course. When living in warmer climates, dressing for winter is pretty easy. However, living with snow, ice and freezing temperatures, it can be a matter of life or death.
The best way to keep kids warm, or anyone for that matter, is to layer clothing. Starting with a lightweight base layer and working from there will help keep body heat next to the skin. Long sleeve thermal t-shirt and pants are the best place to start and then work out from there with normal clothing, then another layer on top of that such as a pullover sweater or microfleece pullover.
Over everything goes the outermost layer of the winter coat or jacket. Don’t forget to layer the socks on the feet depending on the temperatures outside. When buying boots for winter keep in mind the kids may need a bit of extra room for the extra layers.
9 Thermal Underwear
While it is possible to just use long-sleeved t-shirts as a first layer, they aren’t going to be as effective at keeping a kid warm as actual thermal underwear will. Thermal underwear is specially made to fit snug against the body. This snugness actually helps retain heat and avoids gaps where heat can escape. A majority of thermal clothing also possesses a waffle-like texture that actually helps trap warmth. Also, those elasticized bands at the wrists and ankles to a lot of hold body heat. If the kids are very active and sweat, look into fabrics that are ‘wicking.’ This means that they pull sweat away from the body and dry quickly to keep a body warm.
8 Avoid Blue Jeans
Everybody loves their blue jeans, but they are probably the worst things to wear when it is cold and especially wet outside. Jeans and other heavy cotton clothing are somewhat heavy, to begin with, and they are terrible when they get wet, either through sweating, rain or melted snow. They get even heavier when wet and they dry very slowly. Every mom knows this because they are the last thing to get dry in the laundry. Clothes that stay wet or damp are not going to hold in body heat and will actually make a person lose body heat quickly, leaving the person at risk of hypothermia.
7 There’s a Reason Outdoorsmen Wear Plaid
It may seem like a comical cliché to see loggers, ranch hands, construction workers and other folks who do a lot of work outside wearing their plaid shirts. However, there is a very good reason they wear it. Flannel and fleece are excellent insulators without adding a lot of bulk. So, once you’ve got the kids in their thermal underwear and some normal clothes, have them throw on a colorful flannel shirt. It doesn’t have to be plaid of course. The recent influx of micro-fleece is a great addition to the secrets of dressing warm. Micro-fleece also offers all the wonderful properties of regular fleece but it’s lighter.
6 Joe Namath Wore Pantyhose
Joe Namath played quarterback for the New York Jets football team back in the 1970s and went on to win in Super Bowl III, so he was known as being pretty macho. Well, a pantyhose company convinced him to make a television ad for their product.
While he may only have worn them for the ad, there was also a rumor that he wore them on the field to help keep warm during football games played in the freezing snow. Kids can do much the same thing with tights (yes, even the boys). Hose are extremely lightweight, dry quickly and they offer excellent insulation. They barely weigh anything and when one is out in the cold, they offer great warmth.
5 Focus on Waterproofing
Of course, if the family goes skiing, everyone wears their ski clothes, but they may not be appropriate for just spending a snow day making snowmen in the front yard. But the same idea follows about staying warm and dry. Having waterproof pants is especially important because kids are going to sit, lay and jump around in the snow. And we want them to do that and have a good time. Set them up with a couple of wonderful pair of waterproof/water resistant fleece lined pants to keep their bottom half nice and warm. There are some that have reinforced knees too that can come in really handy.
4 Keeping the Feet Warm
Many people will tell you that if their feet are cold, there’s no way they can feel warm. Although this may not apply to everyone, it is still important that our children’s feet are kept warm when they are out in the snow or rain. Whether it’s just a snow day or the family is all out having an adventure in the great outdoors, you want to be sure that the kids have the right kind of footwear. With stockings, a pair or two of good socks and waterproof boots their feet should stay toasty. Make sure that the boots have a good tread to help to avoid slipping on icy walkways. Having tall boots is also a big plus as it will avoid snow and rain from getting into the shoes.
3 Heat Rises
We’re sure you’ve heard it said that we lose up to 50% of our body heat through the top of our heads. While this information has since been debunked it’s imperative to cover the kiddies’ heads when they are going outside in the cold. Depending on the temperature, a knit cap may be adequate, but again, layering is the key. It is also important to keep the neck and face covered in extreme cold so scarves, ski masks, nose warmers or a balaclava that extends down to cover the neck make good sense. Remember that even though we zip them up into the outer coat, there always seems to be that little gap at the top of the zipper where the cold air finds its way in.
2 Keeping Those Pinkies Pink
Nobody likes having cold hands. So, in order to keep the kid’s hands warm, layer applies here too. The temperature outside should always guide us when we are preparing to let our kids play outside. Sometimes a simple pair of waterproof mittens or gloves will do the trick. However, if it is very cold, it may be a good idea to add another layer to those waterproof hand coverings. Make sure that the gloves come up over the wrist and there are no gaps of bare skin showing. There are plenty of thin, close-fitting gloves that will add extra warmth and keep those cute little digits from turning blue.
1 Wrap Them Up
The last thing that should go on your kid when getting them outside into cold weather is, of course, their outer overcoat. While fashion is important to some kids, if it’s cute or cool looking but doesn’t keep them warm, it’s not worth the money. Look for coats that offer lightweight with a lot of warmth. A coat with a hood is always a good idea as they can usually be cinched up under the chin for more warmth. Water-resistant down is the best type of insulation as it is light but will resist getting damp. There are also many synthetic insulation types on the market as well. Remember, that a coat being puffy does not mean it will be warm.