As the weather turns colder, kids' physical activity tends to decrease. The cooler temperature, brisk wind and rain and snow can keep them indoors. But why let winter weather keep kids from the fun of outdoor play and activities?
The key is to be prepared to enjoy the winter season, especially when it comes to clothing. That's an area with which kids need help and oversight.
Everyone has heard of layering as it applies to stylish attire. The same principle will also regulate your temperature and help keep you warm and dry.
Winter dressing has three layers: a base layer, a mid layer and an outer layer. The base fits tightly to your body and serves to keep the body dry, allowing perspiration to evaporate. Avoid cotton clothing for this first layer because it traps moisture; therefore, it stays wet and draws heat away from you.
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Several clothing companies make moisture-wicking synthetics that keep moisture from collecting near your skin.
The mid layer is for insulation and keeps you warm. These clothing items should fit a little more loosely. Wool, fleece, polyester and down are good choices. The outer layer provides protection from wind and water.
Head, hands and toes are areas that kids tend to leave exposed. The head can lose up to 40 percent of the body's heat. To prevent that, wear a hat instead of relying on a hood. Many coats have hoods, but the gapping around the head does not keep the head as warm as a hat. Choose mittens over gloves to keep fingers warmer.
Put away flip-flops and ballet flats for warm-weather seasons. Wear shoes with substantial soles, a closed heel and toe, or boots. Winter shoes should have enough room to wear thick socks without pinching the toes. Good circulation prevents the possibility of frostbite.
The face is an area that is hard to cover and protect from cold weather. The sensitive skin on kids' cheeks, chins and lips can chap easily. Use face and lip moisturizers before kids go outside. Apply petroleum jelly under a child's runny nose; it lasts longer than moisturizers. Additionally, sunscreen should be used; sunburns occur just as easily in the winter as they do in the summer.
When kids play in cold weather, they often get so busy playing and having fun that they don't recognize when they are getting too cold. If a child gets too cold, he/she could be at risk for frostbite or hypothermia. As a reminder: Never rub frostbitten skin. If you suspect frostbite, call your doctor.
Kids will be eager to get outdoors, especially when that first snow falls. Let them. But help them to protect themselves by wearing clothing that will keep them warm and dry.