Bring out the hats and mittens, it's wintertime!! The holiday season is a magical time of the year, but the harsh cold can be difficult for parents with little ones. As long as it's not too cold, fresh air is wonderful for babies. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Children are more at risk from the cold than adults. Because their bodies are smaller, they lose heat more quickly. Especially if they’re having fun, they may be less likely to come inside when they’re getting too cold.” In the extreme cold, babies should only be outside for a few minutes at a time.
How cold is too cold?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants should not be out in freezing temperatures for more than a few minutes. They need to have at least one more layer of clothing than adults. It’s also recommended by most pediatricians that families keep their household temperature between 68 and 72 degrees.
Dress in Layers!
Adding layers is a great way to keep your baby warm this winter. We love footed pajama sleepers during the colder months. Also try putting on socks and onesies under the pajamas to keep your baby’s feet warmer. Baby’s lose body heat through the top of their head also so making sure that your baby is wearing a hat is very important. Blankets are not recommended for babies under 12 months, but zip up sleep sacks are wonderful and safe for cooler nights.
Wear your baby!
Baby carriers are a great way to keep your baby warm! By having your baby close to you, you can warm them with your body heat and you’re more aware of their body temperature. When my winter babies were newborns, I really loved a thicker wrap like a Moby Wrap. I would wrap up the baby against my body and then put a coat on. The coat didn’t cover the baby, but my body heat was enough and also the wrap could block some of the cool air. Just make sure that you can easily see your baby’s face when you use a wrap to ensure they are getting enough air.
No winter jackets in car seats!
Thick winter jackets can be dangerous when worn in a car seat. Their bulk can require you to loosen the straps of the seat and not properly secure the baby in the event of a car accident. Instead look into a blanket style car seat cover or you can put your baby’s arms in a jacket over the carseat straps after they have been buckled.
Extra safety tips:
Many parents use a blanket to cover the stroller, but make sure that there is enough space for proper circulation. There are some car seat cover options that have a hole where the baby’s face is. Keep in mind that you can also overheat your baby with too many layers of clothing if the cover is very insulated. Dressing the baby in light layers can help so that you can remove a layer if the baby gets too warm.
Portable space heaters can be very dangerous around children so make sure they are in an area that they can not be touched or accidentally knocked over. While space heaters have definitely improved over the last few years, they still pose a burn and safety risk for little ones.
Another thing to think about during the dry winter months is dry skin. Make sure to keep an eye out for dry skin and chapped lips. If you are feeling the dryness, then your baby may also. Unscented lotions are wonderful for helping with dry skin that comes during the winter months. Aquaphor is a favorite in our house!
Definitely don’t forget a portable bottle warmer for those cool outings! A warm bottle can be soothing and comforting on a cold winter and warm the baby up when spending time outdoors! Check out The Baby’s Brew Portable Bottle Warmer to easily and safely warm your baby’s bottle on the go!
How cold is too cold for my baby?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants should not be out in freezing temperatures for more than a few minutes.
Can my baby wear a jacket in the car seat if it isn’t a puffy jacket?
A thin jacket or sweatshirt is totally fine in the car seat, but if you have to loosen the straps in order to get the baby buckled, then there is too much bulk. So if you think it maybe too thick, then it’s best to take it off for safety.
How many layers should I dress my baby in?
Depending on how cold it is outside, you may want to dress the baby in a few layers. Layers are great because if they do get too warm, you can easily remove a layer for comfort.
Are electric blankets safe for children and babies?
No, unfortunately children and babies should not use electric blankets as they can easily overheat their body temperature.
Written by: Kristen Bickel
Kristen is a mom of 4 and an employee at The Baby’s Brew.