Baby To Go – in the cold!
Do’s & Don’ts for Safe Winter Adventures
The seasons have changed *fast* here in the Northeast, and we are heading into the winter! Just because the temperatures have dropped, that doesn’t mean we all need to stay home, but it’s important to keep our babies safe and warm.
DO – Use layers to bundle.
It is understandable to want to keep our tiny babes as warm as possible when it’s so cold outside, but puffy winter coats can interfere with correct fit of car seat harness straps, and overheating can be more dangerous than a slight chill. Concentrate on the extremities – keep tiny fingers and toes warm with socks and mittens. Layer a light fleece under a heavier jacket so that the jacket can be removed in the car. A good rule of thumb for babies younger than 12 months is to add one more layer than you are wearing. Be sure to have a warm hat for baby, as most body heat escapes through the head.
DON’T – Use puffy coats or after-market car seat covers that interfere with the harness straps.
Injuries sustained in car accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. With that in mind, it is important to minimize risk by using car seats in the safest way possible. Coats with too much bulk make it difficult or impossible to tighten car seat straps correctly, and can make an accident more dangerous. Car seats are not crash tested or designed to be used with after-market accessories, and anything that interferes with the harness straps can reduce the safety. Instead, tuck a blanket around your little one after the harness is safely fitted or look for shower cap style covers that don’t touch the harness straps.
DO -Use your body heat.
Babywearing has offers incredible benefits to both the parent and baby. In the winter, wearing keeps both of you warmer. Use a maternity coat or a jacket a size or two too large to zip over baby snuggles. There are also many specialty baby wearing coats and jackets available.
DON’T – Overdo it.
Babies, especially younger infants, lack the ability to regulate their own body temperature. Babywearing can help, but your baby will get colder quicker than you. Limit outdoor activities when the temperature drops too low, and take breaks indoors to warm up. Watch for signals that baby is too cold – blue lips, pale nose or fingertips, fussy or lethargic – or overheating – sweaty, flushed cheeks, bumpy rash.
– Sarah Ludwig is a stay at home mom who never stays at home. She loves helping families on their path to parenthood, and works as a childbirth educator, doula, and CPST. She is a Babywearing Educator with the local chapter of Babywearing International, and she blogs about her adventures at lovetheludwigs.com.