Babies in the cold: Bundle up tight to protect your little ones

Archive, December, Feel Good, Month, Topics

How experts recommend babies be bundled up during the cold months and winter weather.

When it comes to coats and jackets, is it the bigger the better?

Could properly dressing a baby lower their risk of SIDS?

When indoors, does it matter what the thermostat is set at?

Taking an infant outside during the winter months, even if it’s just a quick run to the car, should only be done if the baby’s properly dressed to protect against the cold and other wintertime elements.

“Infants are at a far greater risk for the serious and more dangerous impacts from the cold, and this goes beyond frostbite and hypothermia,” said Dr. Nagwa Khadr, a pediatrician with McLaren Macomb. “For parents, and grandparents too, safety is paramount when it comes to our babies. Knowing and following these best practices will absolutely go a long way in keeping them as safe as possible against the harshness of winter.”

Before leaving the house with an infant in tow, take a moment to consider some of the measures aimed at keeping a baby safe and comfortable during the harshest season of the year.

Start with layers

Layers keep heat from escaping. To help against restricting movement, and to avoid discomfort, start with thin cotton layers before adding thicker, heavier layers.

No coat in the car

Coats on when out in the elements, of course. But when inside the car and strapped into a car seat, a puffy winter coat can cause the harness to be too loose. Remove the jacket for a snug fit in the seat and keep a blanket handy for warmth if needed.

Head, hands and feet

When bundling up, be extra mindful of securely covering the head, hands and feet since those areas uncovered can lower body temperature.

Mind the indoor temp

When it’s cold outside, also pay attention inside when setting the thermostat. Indoor temps outside of the 68- to 72-degree range can lower the humidity, drying out a baby’s tender skin.

Watch for discomfort

Keep an eye out for shivering, blue lips and other signs of being underdressed and cold. Watch, too, for signs of being overdressed – sweating, lethargy, red skin, warm to the touch. Avoiding overheating can aid in reducing the risk of SIDS.

Stay inside

If the outside temperature or windchill temp falls below freezing, or if the conditions are excessively windy or wet, avoid going outside altogether. But if it’s necessary, try to make it as brief a trip as possible.