When you bring your baby home from the hospital, you’re surely constantly thinking about their safety. From making sure they won’t choke on toys to preventing falls from the changing table, you’re rethinking every aspect of your home to make sure it’s not dangerous for the little one. However, what happens when you have to leave your home? If you need to step out during winter and have no one to look after your baby, you’re probably wondering if they will be safe outside and if there are ways how you can keep them extra protected. Read on for more information.
Can babies and toddlers go outside during cold weather?
For starters, if you’re wondering if your baby can go outside when it’s cold, the answer is yes, as long as you take all necessary precautions and don’t stay out too long in freezing temperatures. Babies are more susceptible to cold because their bodies lose heat faster than they can produce it. Furthermore, they can’t tell you if they’re cold, which can lead to hypothermia and frostbites. When it comes to infants, red, cold skin and low energy levels are signs of hypothermia so keep an eye out.
What is more, toddlers can also safely play outdoors. However, they do need to be dressed properly and should only be outside for 20 to 30 minutes before taking a break. Hypothermia in toddlers manifests through intense shivering, disorientation, clumsiness, and slurred words.
When is it too cold?
On the other hand, you also need to know when it’s too cold to spend time outside with your baby or toddler. You want to avoid playing outdoors if the temperatures or wind chills are below -15 degrees F or -26 degrees C. Going outside when it’s too cold can result in the baby’s or toddler’s skin freezing within minutes. Don’t take your little one outside for longer than a few minutes at a time when the temperatures are extreme, to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Another way how you can tell that your child is most certainly cold is if you are cold or uncomfortable outside.
Furthermore, you should be aware of the fact that newborns and babies are actually most prone to get hypothermia if they sleep in a room that is too cold. Make sure their room is somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees F, aka 20 to 22 degrees C. On the other hand, if the room is too warm, you are increasing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
How to protect little ones from the cold
When it comes to protecting your little one from the cold, there are many things you can do. Keep the following tips in mind.
Layer your little one in threes
You probably dress in layers too when you go out – apply the same approach when dressing your little one. Put them in a one-piece sleeper outfit, follow it with a thin long-sleeved shirt of cotton or some other light fabric and pants, and top it all off with bunting or a snowsuit. You want the final layer to be water-repellent and tightly woven so that it will keep the cold out. Put a blanket in the stroller as well, to act as an extra layer if necessary.
Make sure to stay dry
In addition to layering up, you also want to stay dry. Hypothermia will not only occur during freezing cold temperatures but also if your child is wearing damp clothes for too long. With that in mind, keep checking them to see if their diaper is wet and put them in water-resistant boots and coats.
Get all sorts of accessories
Something else you don’t want to overlook is cozy accessories that will make them properly heated. For example, you can find comfy 3 Little Crowns beanies that will ensure your baby’s ears will also be toasty. Then, you want warm socks and snow boots that will keep those little feet warm. As keeping their hands warm is also vital, you want to get them some mittens. Mittens are better than gloves as they keep their fingers in close company and they can work together to stay warm.
Shield them from the wind
Cold air can be hard on your baby’s lungs but you don’t want to put long scarves around them as they present a strangulation hazard. It’s better to use a sun shield or your stroller’s canopy. If your child is a bit older, you can try a neck warmer or a winter mask that can warm the air before it enters the lungs.
Keep them out of the sun
Although it’s cold outside, the sun can also be very dangerous and result in sunburn. With that in mind, remember to use the stroller’s canopy and put some baby-safe sunscreen on them. Older kids should use SPF 15 or 30 when spending time outdoors.
Check their skin regularly
We’ve mentioned signs of hypothermia, so do a skin check every once in a while to make sure you’re able to react on time if you notice something. Touch the nape of their neck, hands, and feet and if you notice they’re icy, make sure you get inside and warm them up.
Find nearby indoor shelter
Something that you need to keep in mind when going outside with your little one during the colder months is having a nearby indoor shelter. Regardless of whether you will stay near your home or go into a café to warm up before your trip back home, you want an indoor space you can go to once you notice your child getting cold hands and feet.
Think about car seat safety
If you travel by car, you also need to be careful to take off their coat before you put them into their car seat. Instead, opt for a few thinner layers, mittens, and a hat, which will not interfere with the harness’s safety like a coat would. Overheating is possible during long trips so remember to keep checking on your little one to see if they’re sweating excessively.
Going outside with your little one during winter is possible. Just remember to take all the necessary precautions to keep them safe.