There’s no way around it — if you’re planning on heading outdoors with your baby in tow on winter days, you need to ensure he’s dressed properly so he stays cosy and warm without overheating. Follow these tips to ensure you do it safely.
When it comes to dressing babies and toddlers for winter weather, layering is key. The general rule is to dress your baby in one layer more than what you’re wearing. ‘Wrapping your little one up in several layers means that not only can you ensure she is warm and cosy, but you can easily remove a layer to prevent her from overheating,’ says Linda Torstensson, Founder of Kozi Kidz. ‘Starting off with a good quality base layer helps to simultaneously regulate temperature and draw moisture away from your child’s skin.’
Pick the right layer
An effective thermal base layer is key for babies and toddlers. ‘Wool or polyester is the ideal base layer, but avoid pure cotton as it’s very porous and generally holds more moisture which doesn’t wick away easily,’ says Nikki Horne, managing director of cold weather clothing company Raindrops. ‘Merino wool is the only natural fibre that can absorb up to 40% humidity without feeling damp. It also has the ability to respond to changes in your baby’s body temperature.’
Staying warm and dry
When buying outerwear for your baby, look for technical features and fabrics. ‘To ensure full protection from wet weather, make sure the garment has a waterproof rating of at least 1500mm or more,’ says Linda. Don’t forget to look at the coat or all-in-one’s hood, it should fit snugly around her face for maximum protection.
Look for details
When choosing a garment look out for details such as reflectors or detachable hoods that prevent children from becoming caught. ‘Also bear in mind comfort-focused features such as zip garages (special covers so your baby can’t catch herself) or soft linings that will be gentle against a child’s sensitive skin,’ says Linda.
Go for easy-to-remove clothes
If you are choosing an all-in-one, consider how easy it’ll be to put on and take off your baby. ‘Look for a full-length front opening which makes nappy changes or undressing a sleeping child much easier,’ says Linda.
Ditch coats in the car
If you’re heading outdoors but travelling in a car first, it’s worth thinking about how your baby is dressed. Cars can warm up quickly and you don’t want your baby to overheat. Remove hats and gloves and especially snowsuit and coats.
The NHS say: “Leaving your baby’s coat or snowsuit on in the car creates a gap between your baby and their safety harness. In a collision, the harness isn’t as close to your baby’s body as it needs to be to allow it to properly restrain them. You should pull the harness tight enough that you can just get two fingers between your baby and the straps.”
Be aware of the compression of layers against the car seat straps in a collision; the straps should be snug against your baby. If the car seems cold, you can drape a breathable blanket over your baby’s body.
Remember the extremities
Whether you opt for a coat or all-in-one, protecting little hands and feet will help to maintain your child’s core temperature. ‘Snug feet = happy baby or toddler = relaxed parent!’ says Nikki. ‘For toddlers, thick-soled non-skid tread, waterproof and breathable snowboots or thermal-lined wellies are a good investment to keep toes snug, while for babies I’d recommend warm socks or soft-soled moccasins.’ Mittens and gloves are also a must for toddlers – look for ones that can be clipped onto coats so your child won’t lose them if she pulls a glove off. And remember a hat – it’s the easiest way for your baby to lose heat so keep her head covered when out.