Temperatures are dropping all over the country, but that doesn’t mean we want to stay indoors 24/7 until it warms up again! That said, if you’re new to the parenting game, you might have some questions about how to take baby along on those outdoor winter adventures while keeping them safe and warm.
Luckily for you (and me, too!) there are answers to out there, and the most important one is this: unless temperatures are strangely extreme, there’s no reason for baby not to enjoy the season.
That said, when it comes to keeping baby comfortable in the chilly temps, there’s one important bottom line: give yourself a little extra time to prepare. Warm up the car so their car seat isn’t half-frozen (or better yet, keep it inside!). Use blankets to keep little fingers and toes warm when it takes your own stiff hands longer than usual to buckle them into their seat.
While we’re discussing car seats, it’s important to know what layers can and cannot be worn in order to keep them safely secured in case of an accident. Bulky snowsuits and heavy coats should always be put on after arriving at your wintry destination – use your blankets OVER the buckles in the car.
The key to keeping baby warm – but not too warm – is layering. Socks under the footies, sweatshirts over long sleeves and under coats. Your baby should wear at least as many layers as you do, and maybe one more.
“Always have gloves or mittens, hat and boots. Every child needs a hat in the winter weather. You lose a good percentage of your body heat from the head,” pediatrician Alison Mitzner reminds us. “Frostbite can occur if the skin is exposed to really cold temperatures – most often with fingers, toes, ears, and nose. If you see the skin becoming very pale and cold, immediately bring your child inside. Warm washcloths work well for the ears and nose – do not rub affected areas.”
Likewise, the shivers are a sure sign that it’s time to go inside and warm up. Shivering can be a sign of hypothermia and can be a bigger risk for babies, who are unable to move around to warm up.
On the flip side, you want to make sure your baby isn’t too warm. Not only will sweating make them colder in the long run, but they can easily overheat if they’re wearing too many clothes. This can make them cranky, red, warm to the touch, or even dehydrated (read: not much fun to be around), so shed a layer and see if it helps before taking on more.
You’ve likely learned by now that the key to leaving the house with baby is to allow plenty of time and to be prepared. So take the time to start the car, stash blankets, and wrestle your infant into layers of clothes and a hat, boots, and gloves. You also know by now that you’ll need extras of everything.
Nothing better than six layers of clothes ruined by a loose diaper or a poop explosion, right?
Stay warm out there!