As you know, we live on a hobby farm. So staying inside, even when it’s freezing outside, isn’t an option. Fences still need to be mended, trees and other things need to be checked, pipes freeze and burst and require fixing… the list goes on. And then there is the charm of picking up icicles on our fingers to examine (and eat).
Oh, and there is also the fun of shaking the ice off the trees and trying to catch the icicles on our tongues!
But there are some serious considerations when you are taking young children out in the cold because, like many other things, they aren’t the best at regulating themselves and often don’t realise they’re in problems, until it’s too late. So here are my five considerations you need to be aware of, when taking young children out in the freezing cold.
Layer 1: This layer is for warmth but it also needs to take sweat away from the body. If your sweat stays on your body – you will end up getting really cold, really fast! For this reason, you should avoid cotton. Think thermals & merino wool. We love Aldi’s winter wear, Macpac and Icebreaker merino underlayers. We prefer natural fibers close to our body. The fit should also be snug. For legs, we love stockings. Yup, even for our son.
Layer 2: This layer is for insulation. Over their thermals we put them in a down jacket. We love our Macpac jackets (and no, this isn’t a sponsored post, we just love Macpac). Their jackets go up two sizes each time so, after two children, each jacket gets four years worth of wear. And that’s four years of being really knocked about. To keep their legs warm, we put them in lined trousers or fleecy tracksuit pants over the stockings. But if it’s really cold we use snow pants – they combine layer 2 and 3.
Layer 3: Protection from wind and rain. Our beloved Macpac jackets don’t keep out the elements, so if it’s windy or wet we put a raincoat/waterproof layer over the top. If it isn’t ridiculously cold, we skip layer 2 and go straight to a ski jacket for this level. They aren’t as warm as down jackets, but they are great for keeping the elements out. They are also better for when we’re being really active… like you know, skiing… or digging up the garden! You get the idea. But if you’re rolling in money, you might like to invest in a gortex jacket.
And don’t forget their feet! Our children wear gumboots in this cold weather as they’re great for keeping out the wind and snow/rain/puddles – we put them in a slightly larger shoe so they can fit two pairs of socks underneath. You can also buy snowboots… but gumboots are useful all year round and we’re stingy. We have, however, invested in really good quality gumboots – and like the Macpac jackets, their Hunter gumboots are handed down from one child to the next, and then on to a friend.
One more… our children often complain that the cold air makes it so it hurts to breathe, they also don’t like their jackets to be completely zipped up close to their chins. Neck warmers fix both these things. It fills the gap between their jacket and chin, and they can pull it over their mouths when the wind picks up.
Don’t trust their opinion
These cheeky monkeys will continue to play, even if they are cold. It would be a rare child who would stop playing because they’re cold….
Frostbite – learn the signs
Pale, grey, blistered skin, typically on fingers, toes, ears or their nose. Also important to note – children are much more likely to suffer from frostbite than adults as they lose heat faster than adults. Find more information at Better Health Victoria, Kidshealth and Stanford Children’s Health.
Also read up on hypothermia… just in case.
Did you know that the drier winter air causes you to loose more water through their breath? So take your water bottles with you – but consider carrying them in a bag, or at least insulating them (or use an insulated water bottle) because in sub-zero temperatures, water freezes – duh!
Snowing? Sunburn is still a concern.
Snow reflects the sun, so even when it seems overcast, you can still get sunburnt. Give ‘Slip, slop, slap’ a winter feel – Slip on some layers, Slop on some sunscreen and slap on a beanie and gloves! Sunglasses are awesome for the snow too. Even for children – you’d be amazed how much damage the sun can do to children’s eyes.