As the temperature begins to dip and winter weather begins to creep into the forecast, it is essential that families understand the importance of preparing for the season and ensuring that their children are properly dressed and prepared for the conditions.
Research shows that children are far less capable of regulating their body temperatures in comparison to adults. Even a one degree drop in bodily temperature weakens a child’s defenses against illnesses and viruses. Since small children lose heat faster than adults and are much more likely to not realize that they are cold or that they need to add additional layers, it is up to their families to be aware and defend them against the conditions.
Here are some tips on how to prepare for a cold winter’s day:
- Be aware of the weather forecast. It’s important to know how the day is going to progress so that families can prepare a child with what they will need for the day. Does the day start off cool and then warm up by the afternoon? Will there be evening rain showers? Will that blizzard hit by noon? Knowing what the forecast looks like allows families to properly dress their child for the day or provide them with additional clothing and accessories they may need to protect them against the elements and changing weather.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Staying hydrated is crucial, especially in winter when the air is more dry. Because of the drier air, a child will lose water through their breath. While they are outside playing, make sure that they are often drinking water or a warm drink. After a bit a play, families might also give them some soup which helps them warm up and fills up their tummies.
- When in doubt: layer! Throughout the day, you never know how the weather may change or if your child’s schedule will change. Layering allows flexibility to adjust to changing weather conditions or activities. When it comes to layering, it is essential to remember that it is not only important to stay warm but to stay dry as well. When it comes to babies and young children, it is suggested to dress them in one more layer than an adult would wear.
When thinking of layers, think of each one as having a specific purpose in keeping the child warm and protecting them from the elements.
- Layer one: This layer is meant to keep the skin dry. The fabric of these pieces should be thin, breathable and should be able to absorb sweat if needed.
- Layer two: This layer is meant to keep the child warm but still have fabric that is breathable. When thinking of this layer, think of lightweight fleece pullovers or pants.
- Layer three: This layer is meant to protect the skin from the rain, wind or snow. For this layer, outwear such as a winter jacket or snow pants are perfect. They allow for layers to fit underneath but they also do not stop the child from being active.
It is important to remember that layering also includes keeping hands, face, neck, and feet protected and warm. Gloves, hats, scarves, warm socks, and winter boots are just as vital for the extremities as the three layers are for the core.
What other tips do you have to fight back against the cold weather?