When the temperature drops, layering clothes is the best way to keep infants and young children warm outdoors. Dressing in several thin layers keeps children dry and warm. We recommend dressing young kids in one additional layer than an adult would be comfortable in. An example of thin layered clothing would be leggings and a long sleeve shirt or onesie, then covering that with pants and another shirt. Depending on the temperature, you may also consider putting a sweater or coat/jacket on top. Make sure to use gloves, hats, socks, and boots too! Even when it’s cold, we still recommend going out to play every day to keep kids active. Be sure to take routine indoor breaks to warm up and prevent hypothermia or frostbite.
A word of caution: When your child is bundled up in a thick or fluffy coat, this can create space between your child and their car seat straps, making them fit incorrectly in the seat. Dressing in thin layers is a safer way to keep your child warm in the car, but still ensure they are protected. Bulky coats and outerwear can be worn while outdoors, but when putting your child into their car seat, you should first remove their coat or snowsuit. To keep them warm, you may cover them with a blanket after the seat straps are already buckled. Always make sure the car seat straps are comfortably and snuggly tightened without additional space between your child’s body and the strap.
It is always a good idea to keep an emergency bag in your car with extra blankets, dry clothes, and hats or gloves, along with safety items for emergency automotive maintenance. When the weather conditions are cold, be sure to add extra time to your journey to account for getting set up in the car seat and for safe driving in icy conditions.
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (January 25, 2023). Winter Car Seat Safety Tips. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Winter-Car-Seat-Safety-Tips.aspx
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (January 25, 2023). Playing Outside in Winter: Tips to Keep Kids Warm & Safe. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Winter-Safety.aspx