Are you and your baby planning on venturing out into the cold winter weather? Let Babble help you prepare your baby for the elements with this list of winter necessities:
Snow suit or heavy bunting
Don’t rely on a heavy blanket to protect your baby from the elements. A warm piece that fits over her regular clothes is ideal when you’ll be moving her outdoors. This should not, however, be used as her sole outfit; instead, dress your infant in layers and check her body temperature often. “Your baby is overheated if he is sweating, has damp hair, a heat rash, rapid breathing, or is restless,” says the University of Minnesota SIDS Center.
Hats, mittens, and foot coverings
A knit hat and mittens will protect your infant from wind and chilly temperatures. Once indoors, these items can be removed to avoid overheating. Outfitting your little one with soft, warm baby booties will also prevent heat from escaping through his extremities.
A staple item of any baby’s wardrobe, a sweater is an ideal layering piece. Look for a soft knit with easy buttons or snaps that will fit comfortably over her long-sleeved bodysuits.
Lightweight receiving blankets may not provide the warmth needed during colder months. A fleece cover retains heat while protecting your baby from winter elements including snow, sleet, and wind.
Footed sleepers and sleep sacks (3-5)
Bundling your baby isn’t safe at night, when he can easily overheat. A footed sleeper or sleep sack allows him to stay warm and comfortable when temperatures drop, with the added convenience of not having to sort through layers to change that middle-of-the-night diaper.
Car seat cover and heavy stroller blanket
Keep your baby warm and toasty while out and about. Your little one will need an added layer of warmth and protection to enjoy family outdoor activities.
Moisturizing lotion or body
When purchasing skin products for your baby, look for non-perfumed lotions and oils specially suited to her sensitive skin. Seek out natural, soothing, and emollient ingredients such as almond, olive, coconut, or palm oil; calendula; or marigold. Most pediatricians recommend avoiding antibacterial soaps, baths, and shampoos. Also avoid any baby products containing artificial colors, allergenic or irritating preservatives (such as quaternium 15, imidazolidinyl urea, or parabens), diethanolamine (DEA) or triethanolamine (TEA), and sodium lauryl sulfate or cocamide-DEA.
Home and car emergency kits
As inclement weather sets in, it’s wise to have a preparedness kit ready in your home and car. In your car, you should have a first aid kit, portable radio, a flash light and extra batteries, ice scraper, a shovel and a bag of kitty litter (great for getting a stuck tire out of a snow bank), a warm change of clothes and shoes for each member of your family, extra hats, socks and mittens, a charged mobile phone, an emergency blanket and/or warm wool blankets, water, ready-to-eat-formula and a bottle for bottle-fed babies, and snacks. Home kits should include a fire extinguisher and first aid kit, set aside a shelf for matches and candles, an oil lamp and oil, flashlight and batteries, extra blankets, and winter clothing gear. Always keep a couple extra gallons of drinking water and a collection of canned goods or pantry items that don’t require cooking on hand. Winter storms can knock out electricity; if your family requires electricity for heating and cooking, you’ll need to be prepared.
Keeping yourself healthy is a vital part of caring for your baby. Hand sanitizer helps kill those nasty germs that lurk year-round, but whose effects are so devastating in winter months. While washing with soap and warm water is ideal, antibacterial gels help reduce your and your little one’s exposure to myriad contagions.
You’ve probably heard it before—the sun’s rays are just as potent during the chilly months of winter as they are in the summer. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has published information on two recent studies which determined that, for individuals at higher altitudes, there is actually an increased risk of sunburn in winter. According to dermatologist Dr. Darrel S. Rigel, “snow reflects more than 80 percent of the sun’s rays, even on cloudy days.” That’s why it is highly important that everyone wear a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) with an SPF of at least 15, every time they go outdoors. Even if you’re not in a snowy climate, you’ll benefit your baby and yourself by applying sunscreen before you head outdoors.
Dry winter air can wreak havoc on baby’s skin. An inexpensive humidifier helps keep moisture in and can eliminate or reduce chapped skin, especially around your infant’s nasal passages and mouth. Never place a humidifier next to your baby’s crib, and if you choose one that emits warm steam, make sure that no little ones can reach the steam source, which can burn their sensitive skin.
Fleece pad and flannel crib sheets
While you should not cover your baby with a blanket until she is at least one year old, a fleece pad and flannel crib sheets are a great way to safely add warmth overnight. Look for pads and sheets that fit snugly over her crib mattress, to avoid an increased risk of SIDS.
While the thermostat in your house may tell you it’s a warm 70 degrees, your baby’s room can be significantly warmer or cooler, depending upon its location within the home. The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths, which has seen increased cases of SIDS during winter months, suggests that baby’s room be kept at a moderate 65 degrees.