In the last month or so here in Ontario, the mercury has plummeted time and time again. I’m not complaining, well maybe a little, as I remember us out at the park in t-shirts on November 5. Yes, actually.
Last winter our bubs was 4-7 months old. He obviously wasn’t outside running around but there were certainly some things we needed for him to make winter easier and safer. Now that he’s a toddler and walking around, we need some different gear to keep him safe, warm and happy.
- For car travel: a car seat cover. These are a MUST. If you think you can get away with blankets, you are sadly mistaken. You’ll want one that fits over the car seat like a shower cap versus one that messes around with the straps. These are marvelous as well because we rarely, if ever, even needed to dress our bub in anything more than a fleece sleeper. He’d be nice and toasty when we got to our destination.
- For car travel with older children: You’ll definitely need some blankets here. It is not recommended to put children (even older children) in their car seat in puffy winter coats. We bought our guy a fall coat for the car – it’s a fleece with a waterproof outer and it works great. You can also use a toddler coat that is made specifically to unzip at the sides and allow the car seat to be buckled under the coat. Always make sure you have EXTRA of everything in the car. Extra blankets and warm accessories for both you and the kids. I recommend warming the car up before you go!
- For stroller travel: a bunting bag. AGAIN, do not be fooled into thinking that a blanket is the best option here – only if you want to pick up a blanket off the ground over and over again on repeat like it’s your job. If you’re still using your car seat with your stroller you can probably skip this for now but it’s great for toddlers. An added bonus is that when they drop their toy while strolling, it will fall into the blanket instead of on the ground. My recommendation? The JJ Cole Bundle Me Toddler is my pick for this and it’s been wonderful for us.
- For outdoor play: For a little squish who will be outdoors, a snowsuit is a must (not in the car seat though!), as well as a hat with, ideally, a chin strap that will hold it on the baby’s head. Many snow suits will have hands and feet in them, but if not, or if your child is walking, make sure you have some warm, waterproof boots (like Stonz) and some mittens with a long cuff that fits as high up on the arm as possible. Baby/toddler mittens are like baby socks: no staying power. Snow pants are also a must for babies and toddlers outdoors in the winter. My tip is to get the ones with the overall straps versus the ones that just pull up like regular pants.
With all the layers of clothing and fabrics, paired with reduced mobility and uneven footing, it’s a wonder we all survive winter at all. Here are some things you’ll want to watch out for or avoid completely.
- Scarves. A long piece of free-flowing fabric around a child’s neck is always a bad idea. Invest in a neck warmer or a fleece bandana bib instead.
- Dry skin. You can get a cool mist humidifier for your baby’s room and I highly recommend you do so!
- Colds. If you have a child in daycare, school or any kind of group activity, there will be sickness in your house. Start early with teaching your kids how and why to wash their hands.
- Frostbite. Watch out for a pale grey colour on the skin or blisters – especially on the feet, hands and face. Take breaks to step indoors with your little ones every once in a while and let everyone warm up.
- Sleds. When it has just snowed, a sled appears to be a great way to transport the kids to the park. Exercise extreme caution here as drivers may not be able to see your sled being pulled behind you.
And finally, one thing I just learned this year is that house fires happen more in the winter than in the warmer months. Make sure you have a functioning smoke alarm on each level of the house and one outside the bedroom doors. The same goes for a carbon monoxide detector. Both of these devices can save your family’s life.
And if you’d like to read a bit more about keeping your child warm in their car seats, you can check out one of our popular posts from a while back here.