Babies and Cold Weather

Babies and Cold Weather

The winter months are on the way. In fact, some parts of the country have already seen snow! So, it is no wonder why new parents are worried about bringing their babies outside. After all, the frigid air is sometimes too much for us to handle. With that in mind, babies and cold weather can be a risky combination. That said, sometimes it is unavoidable.

So let’s take a look at this topic. When is it too cold to bring a baby outside in the winter months? Furthermore, what can we do to keep our little ones safe?

Babies Get Cold Faster

First things first, it is a sad fact that babies and cold weather can be a dangerous mix. In the past, we’ve discussed keeping kids safe during a heat wave. Well, the same principles apply here.  You see, young children are not able to regulate their body temperature as easily as adults.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body. The same goes for babies and cold weather. Extreme cold can result in dangerously low body temperatures in babies. This can result in frostbite or hypothermia. Later, we’ll discuss warning signs for these conditions.  For the most part, you should avoid staying outside for too long. Keep the baby’s exposure to the cold air and wind at a minimum.

Dressing Babies Properly for the Cold

Now we know that babies and cold weather can be dangerous. Next, let’s look at how we can keep our baby safe when we you do need to take them into the cold. Top priority should be dressing your babies properly.

Let’s face it, we all enjoy dressing our little ones in cute outfits. However, style should never outweigh function. It is important that you dress your baby to match the weather. In addition to a warm outfit and winter coat, your baby should have a hat and gloves to shield their skin as much as possible. More times than not, multiple layers are a smart move.

All of that said, it is important not to avoid one extreme by going to the other extreme. In other words, you don’t want to overheat your baby by trying to keep them warm. As we mentioned above, babies can be just as susceptible to the heat as they are to the cold.

Signs of Danger for Babies and Cold Weather

As we said earlier, exposure to cold weather can result in some serious conditions for babies. For one, frostbite is when extreme cold freezes your skin and the tissue below it. If not treated, it can permanently damage your skin, muscles, tissue and bone.  You can recognize frostbite when your body, especially your extremities, are numb. Other signs include hard or waxy skin, blistering, a prickly feeling or when your skin turns red, white or gray.

If that wasn’t bad enough, hypothermia is a more severe circumstance.  In this case, your body is losing heat faster than it can produce it. At this point, your body temperature plummets. While signs in adults include slurred speech or memory loss, these are things that can’t be identified in a baby.  Signs of hypothermia in babies include shallow breathing, low energy levels, a weak cry and poor feeding. If you suspect that your baby might have hypothermia, you can take their temperature. A rectal temperature of below 95 degrees Fahrenheit is considered hypothermic.

Above all, you should call 9-1-1 or your baby’s pediatrician for medical assistance right away.

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