Cold Weather: How To Keep Your Kids Protected From the Elements

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University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children'sExperts in Children's Health
woman helping boy put on mittens

Before your kids head out into the chilly air or fresh snow, read these tips from UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital to help keep them safe and snug.

How To Dress Your Child

Here are the six pieces of clothing that can keep your child properly protected in cold winter:

  • Hat
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Waterproof boots
  • Scarf that covers the face and neck
  • Water and wind-resistant coat
  • Several thick layers of loose clothing

Wind Chill Wise

Use the wind chill as the best judge on whether it’s too cold to play outside.

  • 32 and above -- Children can comfortably play outside when dressed appropriately. Set reasonable time limits for outdoor play.
  • 13 degrees to 31 degrees – Use caution. Limit outdoor time to 20 to 30 minutes and have children come inside periodically to warm up.
  • Below 13 degrees – Move activated indoors.
  • A fact on frostbite: Kids are at greater risk for frostbite than adults because they lose heat from their skin faster.

4 Tips for Gearing Up

Wear a hat and scarf – Up to half of the heat lost from the body while outside comes from a bare head and neck. On extra blustery days, kids can use their scarves to cover their faces. To trap heat, choose a hat that covers the ears instead of earmuffs.

Protect hands and feet – Make sure kids wear gloves or mittens, and insulated, waterproof boots to prevent frostbite. Choose thick wool socks. Change socks and mittens if they become wet to protect fingers and toes.

Layer up – Several thin inner layers of wool, silk or polypropylene clothing hold more body heat than cotton. Your child’s outer layer (coat) should be tightly woven and resistant to water and wind.

Bring water and SPF – Kids should drink plenty of water before and during outdoor play, and wear an SPF of 15 or higher on exposed skin. Using a lip balm with an SPF of 15 or higher can help prevent chapped, dry lips.

Related Links

University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital has the region’s largest coordinated network of pediatric primary care providers, committed to delivering the very best care to children of all ages. The pediatric primary care team at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s provides a full range of pediatric services, from routine well-child visits, vaccinations and screenings, to the expert diagnosis and treatment of childhood conditions – including common illnesses such as ear infections and strep throat, as well as more complex or chronic diseases. Find a pediatric practice near you.

 

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