Dress Right: Tackling Cold Weather Blues

January is here, which means winter is here to stay! As the coldest part of the season sets in, it’s important to keep fingers, toes, and noses safely bundled up. These cold-weather tricks will help keep you and your family safe through endless snowmen, snowball fights, and everything winter can throw at us! 

What should we wear to stay warm?

Keeping kids cozy, warm, and safe is a critical part of winter. Dress the part with multiple thin layers that are easy to add and remove. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the rule of thumb to follow is to add one extra layer to a kid’s outfit than an adult would wear in the same weather conditions. 

For babies and children, make sure fingers and toes are kept comfy:

  • Dress in onesies and footies during the day, with baby-sized caps, thin coats, and booties when heading outside. (Added benefit -- they’re ADORABLE!)
  • Blankets, quilts, and pillows are comfy with supervision, but should be removed from the baby’s crib at night. (Loose bedding is a major contributor to suffocation.)
  • For older kids, add layers under and over winter clothing. Plain PJs work well as DIY long johns, and can be paired with your favorite snow pants, winter coat, and gloves.  
  • Err on the side of “too many layers” as opposed to “layers that are too thick.” A thick sweater can become moist from sweat, which can freeze in extreme temperatures. The better bet is to dress in multiple layers made of thin, insulating fabric, like our ultra-comfortable footie pajamas

What are the signs my child is too cold?

When a person becomes too cold, they experience symptoms of hypothermia. This is especially dangerous for children because the onset is much faster for small bodies than for adults. 

While it’s normal to get the shivers after being out in the cold, keep a close eye on kids who are struggling to talk or keep their eyes open. 

Signs of hypothermia could include:

  • Shivering, to the point that it interferes with body movement. 
  • Lethargy
  • Clumsy or erratic movements
  • Slurred speech
  • Numbness in fingers and toes, the tips of the ears and nose, or the lips
  • A body temperature lower than 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Gray, pale, or blistered skin, particularly in the ears, fingers, toes, or nose (a sign of frostbite, a medical emergency)

What are the signs my child is overheating? 

During winter, it can be surprisingly easy to overheat. As kids run and play in their full winter gear, keep an eye out for sweaty faces and dizziness. This may be a sign that kids need a break from the weather--and their winter clothes. 

Signs of overheating might include:

  • Red, puffy skin
  • A “fuzzy tongue” or dry mouth
  • Dry lips
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Fainting

One of the riskiest parts of winter fun is the risk of dehydration. Because we’re having so much fun in the cold and the snow, we don’t notice our bodies getting thirsty and asking for water. Even though it’s cold out, make sure kids are getting plenty of liquid from water and sugar-free juice, or warm drinks like healthy seasonal cider. 

With the right winter gear and a healthy plan of action, your family can enjoy the best winter fun all season long! Stay warm out there, New Jammies family!