How to Keep Your Child Warm and Safe in the Winter

Winter is a scary time of the year when you have a little one to keep safe. This is especially true if you are the parent of a child that doesn't know how to talk yet as the lack of speech makes it difficult for your child to tell you he or she is cold. Fortunately, there are a lot of steps you can take to keep your babies warm.

Use Several Layers of Clothing

It is important to make sure your child's neck, head, hands, and feet are covered with several layers of clothing. Think about how cold it is outside and how many layers of clothing you would be wearing to keep warm. You should put one or two extra layers of clothing on your child to keep him or her warm.

Be Aware of Clothing Hazards

Scarves, jacket strings, and anything that dangles can be a hazard to a smaller child as it can strangle them. It is safer for a child to be in two or three shirts than a hoodie with strings and a scarf.

Additionally, don't dress your child in a heavy coat or many layers and then buckle them like normal in their car seat. The extra bulkiness of the clothing and the coat won't let the car seat straps fit snugly against the baby to keep them safe. You can buckle them in their car seat and then put the coat on their front and on their arms versus how they'd traditionally wear it.

Keep Your Child Hydrated

Did you know children lose more water in the winter while breathing than any other season? For this reason, it is vital to make sure you are keeping them hydrated. In addition to water, warm drinks and extra soup are a great idea.

Recognizing Danger Signs

The last thing a parent wants is for his or her child to get frostbite. However, it is important to recognize what frostbite looks like. Signs of frostbite include blistered, grey, and pale skin on a person's ears, fingers, nose, and toes. If there is a chance your child has frostbite, get him or her inside as soon as possible. Then, you should put the area that shows signs of frostbite in warm water. Make sure the water is not hot.

Signs of hypothermia include slurred speech, shivering, and more clumsiness than normal. If you think your child is suffering from hypothermia, you need to call 911 or take your child to the nearest hospital.

Keeping Your Child Warm in His or Her Crib

As much as you might want to cover your baby up with a blanket when it is cold outside, you should avoid the temptation. Unfortunately, a loose blanket only increases the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Dressing your baby in warm pajamas or a sleep sack, which just looks like a sleeping bag with holes for the baby's arms and head are great alternatives.You can, however, swaddle your baby in a receiving blanket.

Ideally, the temperature should be set to what would be comfortable for a healthy adult who is lightly clothed. Typically, this will require your thermostat to be just a few degrees higher than what you normally consider warm enough. It is imperative to make sure you are not cranking the temperature up too high or putting your child in too many layers. Overheating your child is just as bad as your child being cold and it can also increase the risk of SIDS.

As you can see, keeping your child or baby warm during the winter months is not a task that should terrify you. Completing the tasks requires staying on your toes and always finding a balance between safety and warmth.