Children are most susceptible to cold weather than adults. Since the Black Hills have notoriously chilly winters, it is especially important that local parents help their kids dress well in the winter!
Layer a Lot, But Not Too Much
Layering winter clothes is best for kids, as it allows them to easily take off layers if they feel too warm. Sweating under winter clothes will actually make them colder, as the clothes will get wet and freeze. A good rule of thumb is that kids need one more layer than adults do.
For the first layer, add something snug in silk or polyester to keep any moisture away. Do not use cotton. Ideally, this layer should cover the arms, legs, and torso.
The middle layer is for insulation. Wool and fleece are good fabric options. This layer should be close to the body, but not to the point of restricting movement. It can also be composed of several thin layers, depending on the weather.
The outermost layer protects from snow and wind. Coats should have a high collar and hood. The coat should be big enough that it allows room for the other layers.
It is best to avoid cotton in the winter, as it absorbs moisture and sweat. TIP: Have your child help pick out their clothing so they will be more likely to wear it!
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
It is especially important to focus on covering key areas that are prone to frostbite like the head and face, ears, hands, feet, and neck. These areas can be protected with a tube scarf, mittens, hat, heavy yet non restrictive socks, and winter boots. If the wind is especially bad, a balaclava can help shield the face. (But don’t do errands around town with one on!)
Pay Attention to Baby
Pay close attention to babies when out in the cold. Unlike older children, babies won’t be able to complain when they’re getting too chilly! Their small bodies are very susceptible to the winter weather. A good rule of thumb is if the baby’s hands and feet are warm, then they are warm. Check a baby’s hands and feet regularly. If the baby is sweating when you take off their clothes, you are using too many layers. It make take some trial and error to find the perfect balance with layers, but is essential for keeping the baby comfortable. Don’t use scarves or clothing with drawstrings, as these can pose a strangulation risk.
Eye to the Sky
Before the kids go out to play in the snow, make sure to watch weather forecasts to see if any winter storms are approaching. If so, it might be better to keep the kiddos inside with some cartoons and hot cocoa!
It can be difficult navigating winter woes with children who are often more worried about their snowball fight than staying warm, but following these simple guidelines makes it a little easier!