Winter Safety for Your Baby

baby sleeping in sleep sack
Image via Mindi Stavish

With the change of seasons comes new worries and fears about how to care for your baby in the cold weather. Even though this is my third baby I have raised in the winter months, I still found myself questioning the best way to keep him warm outside and inside. Here are some tips to keep your baby warm and safe while maintaining your sanity (mostly).  

 

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Image via Flickr/abbybatchelder

Outdoor Safety

Because infants can overheat rather quickly, it’s best to dress them in one more layer than you are wearing when bringing them outside. A bunting or snowsuit works best for outdoor explorations, but leave these off baby in the car seat. Be sure to use a hat, mittens, and footwear, as well.  

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Infants can get hypothermia if exposed to the cold elements for too long, because they have very little subcutaneous fat and a decreased ability to shiver. The rule of thumb is that if you are uncomfortable and cold outside, so are they. A baby has hypothermia when his or her body temperature falls below 95 degrees F. Signs of mild hypothermia include limpness, refusal to eat, unusual quietness, and cold skin. If you suspect your baby has hypothermia, get him or her to a warm place and warm your baby up with your body heat, blankets, and a warm drink, then seek medical attention immediately.  

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Frostbite occurs when the skin and outer tissues become frozen. It typically occurs in the fingers, toes, ears, and nose. Some fo the signs that your baby has frostbite are that your baby’s skin looks pale, gray, and blistered. If you suspect your baby has frostbite, place him or her in warm water (not hot). Do not rub their frozen skin. Again, seek medical attention immediately. The best way to prevent hypothermia in your baby is to avoid extremely cold temperatures.  

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Image via Flickr/The LeCrones

Car Safety

As a mom who is always on the go, keeping my baby warm and safe during my daily routines is important. The use of a winter coat, snowsuit, bunting, or infant sleeping bag is unsafe in a car seat. The bulkiness from these products interferes with how tightly your child is strapped into the car seat, protecting him or her from injury during a car accident. A safer option is to use a blanket over the car seat belt.  If you live in an extremely cold climate, the car seat poncho is convenient and safe for the car seat. It’s a must-have winter product for any busy mom with a baby.  

 

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Image via Flickr/treehouse1977

Bedtime Safety

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding the use of soft blankets when putting your baby to bed, due to the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Instead, dress your baby in a one-piece pajama outfit and use a wearable blanket such as a sleep sack. Another way to keep baby warm at night is to use a flannel fitted sheet.  

{ MORE: When Your Newborn Has a Cold }

 What’s your best tip to keeping your baby warm on winter outings?    

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Winter Safety for Your Baby

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish . Her weekly feature ... More

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5 comments

  1. Profile photo of Jenni Jenni says:

    I’m in Wisconsin so this article was pretty helpful. I’m nervous about having such a little child- he will be premie- in the middle of January. Monday is our worst so far, but a low of -30 with a high of -9 is hard to beat.

  2. Profile photo of Hayley Hayley says:

    i know with the winter months i get nervous sometimes cause i want to make sure my daughter is warm i just keep reminding myself to buckle then wrap because its safer and then when i take her out of the carseat and wrap up more just to make sure shes warm enough

  3. Profile photo of mommy nhoj mommy nhoj says:

    Great! We will look for car seat poncho this coming weekend because it was really hard to snap her belt on while wearing her bulky coat. She loves her wearable blanket at night but sometimes would like mommy’s arm around her in the middle of the night!

  4. Well we live in Florida so we don’t have to bundle as bad although Mason loves to cuddle up no matter what the temperature is. So Mommy will cuddle up too!

  5. I keep my son warm at night is dressing him in a sleeper and swaddling him. He doesn’t get too hot or too cold. He actually sleeps more with something keeping him close.

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