Wednesday, 26 November 2014

What to Pack - Winter Weather Walks

As the chill hits the air, the Canadian heart sinks a little.  Gone are the days when you can throw on your flip flops and leave the house.  No more will the driveway be clear and your front hallway dry.  It's time for those frosty mornings, early nights, and all the clothing that accompanies. That goes for baby as well, and dressing a little one can be tricky.  You don't want them to be cold; they won't be able to express to you their discomfort fast enough if it is far south of zero.  You don't want them to be too hot; car travel and mall walking can mean overheating and chaffing. You also don't want them to be unsafe; bulky layers may mean restraints are under tightened! With that in mind; here are some things to consider when you decide to face the outdoors this winter.

Baby's skin is far more sensitive than yours, so any exposed skin needs to be tended to as best as possible.  While it may not always be necessary or practical to have that elaborate, overstuffed snow suit on, your little one does need at least one extra layer than you do.  This could mean as little as a nice, fluffy blanket to top of his or her sweater and long pants, or a full ensemble of coat, gloves, hat, boots, and more.  A quick front door check won't cut it - check the weather and pack for both eventualities (a change for the worse or the better).

Keeping warm:

  • Make sure all exposed skin (within reason) is covered. Focus on the extremities (head, hands, and feet) where heat is lost most rapidly.
  • Remember to keep baby's face and body well moisturized to prevent dryness and chapping. Multiple changes from the crisp air to warmer environments can leave baby feeling dry, tight, and uncomfortable.
Image borrowed from

Keeping cool:
  • Dress in layers that can be added or removed as your surroundings change.  Hats and mitts should be removed and coats unzipped as a minimum when riding on buses, driving in heated cars, or walking indoors.
  • Consider a stroller/car seat warmth system. It works like a sleeping bag installed on your child's seat, adding warmth when needed and easily unzipped when not required. It has the added advantage of being easily washable and transferable to multiple seats.  See example pictured here.

Keeping safe:
  • Double check that car seat, stroller, and other restraints are secured tightly enough to serve their purpose per the manufacturers instructions.  This might mean removing baby's jacket while in the car.
  • If the weather gets below 20 degrees Fahrenheit/ -7 degrees Celsius, avoid going outside unless you have too.  Frostbite can occur very quickly.

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