When kids go outside to play in the cold and snow, it’s up to parents to make sure the young ones are properly dressed. While toddlers require the most attention, even teens can use a guiding nudge once in a while to help them dress warmly in clothing that will keep them dry.
Here are a few reminders for keeping your kids covered when they’re outdoors and exposed to harsh weather elements, such as freezing temperatures or pelting snowflakes:
- Have them dress in layers of clothing. Don’t depend on a fuzzy sweatshirt and jeans to do the job. Rather, teach them how to dress in layers that can trap warm air and help keep them warm. That means starting with an undershirt, adding a long-sleeved shirt over that, and finishing with a sweater or sweatshirt for the torso. A heavy coat of natural fibers like wool or a mix of polyester and wool can help to keep out cold and moisture. Be sure the coat has all its buttons with sleeves that reach to the mid-point of the back of each hand. A high collar is helpful for protecting the throat and neck areas.
- Look to the legs. Thermal underwear or stretch pants may be a good first layer, followed by heavy-duty jeans or what used to be called “leggings.” These are heavy pants made of fabric that matches the coat. In lieu of this combination, you may want to opt for a child-size snowsuit, the kind like hunters or construction crew members wear, except not in those colors or styles.
- Fend for the feet. Heavy socks, the kind that wicks away moisture from the skin, should be worn under heavy-duty, moisture-proof boots. Footwear comes in all styles and shapes, from ankle boots to knee-high or thigh-high, depending on your outdoor needs. Check for tears or holes that could allow moisture to seep in and cause frostbite. They may want to tuck long pants over the tops of boots to keep snow or rain from dripping inside.
- Accent with accessories. Matching hats, scarves, and gloves not only look nice, but they also add necessary protection to areas that are among those that are most susceptible to frostbite: the ears, nose, cheeks, and hands. Hats are important, even for kids who think they’re not cool since 80% of the body’s heat escapes through an uncovered head. Kids may not feel the warning tingles of numbness as body parts freeze with the onset of frostbite, so it’s important to keep all extremities adequately covered. Mittens are better than gloves since fingers can bind together and share warmth.
- Check kids periodically at play outdoors to be sure they are wearing all their clothes the right way. When sledding or running, they may get damp or warm and pull off hats or gloves, exposing these parts to dangerous freezing potential. When they come inside, have them remove all wet clothing and hang each item to dry where dripping won’t cause a problem, such as a bathtub, shower, or laundry area. Keep the wet clothes in a place where they can be easily found the next time they’re needed.
Dressing children warmly for outdoor play or exposure is an important parental duty. Be sure your kids are adequately protected to keep them safe and comfortable.