Winters in New York State are long, cold, and usually filled with a lot of ice and snow. While preparing for the upcoming winter season with your babies and young children, keep these tips in mind:
Clothing, Pajamas, and Staying Warm:
Babies only need 1 more layer than you to be warm. Dressing baby in lightweight layers makes it easy to keep baby warm, and you can remove layers if baby gets too hot. Stocking up on plenty of onesies, cloth pants, sleep sacks, good-fitting footy pajamas, sweaters and hoodies a size bigger for outside, a snowsuit, and longer than ankle-length socks for baby may be helpful. Check on your baby during sleep hours to make sure he isn’t overheated—if baby has sweaty, matted hair or hot, flushed skin, remove layers to make baby more comfortable. Remove all blankets, as well as pillows, bumper pads, etc. from the crib while baby is sleeping. Overheating is a SIDS risk, and having blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, etc. in the crib with baby also increases the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related death.
Hats and Mittens:
Always make sure your baby’s head and hands are covered when outside in the cold. Hats and mittens are not meant for sleeping, though; they could make baby overheat.
Keeping your home heat between 68—72 degrees will help keep baby comfortable, and should be a
comfortable sleeping temperature as well. If you’re having trouble heating your home, call your local DSS to see if you qualify for assistance.
Carrying your baby in a wrap or baby carrier is a great way to bond, and your body heat will keep baby warm and toasty. Baby wearing is a great alternative to strollers in the winter, as well. Visit www.babywearinginternational.org to read about different baby carriers and safety.
Coats and Car Seats:
It’s safest to put baby in the car seat without a coat, so that the straps fit securely. When transporting baby dress her in light layers, strap her in the car seat safely, then cover baby with blankets, or her coat on backward, to keep her warm. Be sure to remove layers to keep baby cool on long car rides when the heat is on, and when you get to your warm indoor destination.
Car Safety Kit:
Keeping extra blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, first aid kit, salt or sand, washer fluid, and other basic safety gear inside your car can help you stay warm and safe if you have a
Heating your home in the winter dries out the air in your home, and can cause stuffy noses and dry skin. Keeping a humidifier in your baby’s room will help keep the room moist, and your baby might be more
comfortable. Moist air can also help make a room feel warmer. If you don’t have a humidifier, try these tips to add moisture to your air in the winter:
¨ Keep water in a spray bottle, and spritz the water into the air every so often.
¨ Dry wet clothing on a drying rack in your baby’s room—the moisture will go into the air, and you’ll save money not running the dryer.
¨ Placing bowls or cups of water around the house will help add moisture to the air.
¨ Cook on the stovetop. Using the oven dries out air even more, and cooking on the stovetop puts moisture into the air.