It was 9 degrees outside this morning in Sydney and I just argued with my 8-year-old about wearing gloves on his way to school.
See, that’s one of the good things about babies that we don’t realise is a good thing while they’re still babies: They can’t argue about gloves. Sure, they can technically cry about it, but they can’t make illogical arguments about not needing gloves when it’s 9 degrees outside and feels like 5.
Anyway! By now we’ve all realised that this winter is going to be very cold. And even if we manage to hunker down for a day or two, we do eventually need to leave the house—and we need to take our babies with us.
Most parents know that babies (and older kids) should not wear coats or snow suits while strapped into carseats because it makes the straps too loose and unsafe. That makes it even more challenging to keep them warm in winter weather, but we have some tips to keep in mind while you’re bundling.
Layering babies up is key for warmth, whether you’re inside or outside. Inside, a simple onesie with a warmer sleeper (with feet) over it should suffice. Outside, you’ll obviously need more. Put socks on under footie pyjamas, and layer clothing starting with the thinnest, like a cotton onesie and leggings, to the thickest, such as a sweater or fleece pants. That way, once you’re back inside, you can simply peel the top layers away.
Add a warm blanket or two over top of the carseat straps, and bring a jacket or snowsuit along with you to put on when you arrive at your destination. Or, put the coat on backwards, with baby’s arms through the sleeves, still over the straps. Car seat covers can also protect the baby from rain, snow and wind. Store the car seat in the home when it’s not in use to keep it warm.
Don’t forget the head
We lose the most body heat from the top of our heads, so keeping your baby’s head covered is key. Hats, gloves and shoes or boots can—and should—all stay on while they’re in the carseat.
Watch for signs that they’re too hot or too cold
If the baby is shivering, if their toes feel cold (cool is OK) or their back or belly feel cool to the touch, they need more layers. If the feet feel warm, their belly or back is sweaty or they’re cranky and red in the face, it’s time to take off a layer. You can also feel the back of their neck—if the hair is damp, they’re too warm; if it’s cool, they’re too cold.
Remember the “plus one” trick
If you’re still not sure whether baby has enough on—without overdoing it—consider what you’re wearing. A baby should have approximately one more layer than you are comfortable in.