By Candace Derickx
Keeping kids warm in the winter is a major stressor for moms. Let’s face it, we’re running around after them with sweaters and socks in the fall, so when the snow hits we really start to worry. Who wants to see little frozen tootsies after playing outside? That’s no fun.
Here are a few things you can do to keep your kids nice and toasty when the barometer is doing the limbo:
=> Feed them a warm breakfast. Oatmeal is best, but French toast is also a hit. Fill their bellies to give them the energy they need to play outside in the sub-zero chillerator as my children say.
=> Make sure their underoos are toasty warm. We’ve come a long way with fabric technology. Long-johns today aren’t bulky like they used to be, but more like a second skin that keeps you very, very warm, like these ones from Mountain Equipment Co-op.
=> Anyone will tell you that if your feet are cold the show’s over. No more fun to be had after that. I still think the warmest socks are wool socks, like these ones from L.L. Bean.
=> Mittens are warmer than gloves. And mittens with a waterproof exterior are even better. Look for mittens with a nylon exterior lined with fleece.
=> Hand warmers and feet warmers. Sometimes you need a little something extra. Invest in a box of these each winter for when it gets really cold.
=> You’ve heard it before. 90% of your body heat gets lost through your head. I don’t know if that is entirely accurate but kids definitely need a warm hat on their head, preferably something that covers their ears. My husband calls them block warmers.
=> Like the long-johns of old, thicker is not necessarily best when it comes to outerwear. Fabrics such at Omnitec and Polartec are light but provide incredible warmth. Look for powder skirts on jackets to keep snow from riding up the coat while playing. Other things to look for with winter coats – Is it big enough to fit layers under? Does it have a hood? Is the fabric waterproof? What is the temperature rating? Most of this also applies to snow pants. Columbia Sportswear has excellent winter wear and most comes with their Outgrown system that allows the pants and coat to grow with your child.
=> Finally, limit exposure time. Frostbite can occur at anything below 0C or 32F. It’s not likely at that temperature, but as the temperature dips the risk for frostbite increases exponentially. From -18C to -29C, exposed skin can freeze in 5 minutes. From -29C to -56C, exposed skin can freeze in 1 minute. This is the best information I’ve found on exposure times in the winter.
*photo credit CL Buchanan Photography