I think it’s part of our mommy instinct to keep kids warm and cozy. We snuggle them up with an extra blanket in the winter, always carry an extra sweater “just in case,“ and have a tendency to layer them in winter gear to the point that they can barely see between the scarf and hat. Kids need to be warm, especially if they’ll be outside making snowmen for hours. But you can go too far, especially when it comes to keep them bundled up in their car seats.
Today I spent the afternoon with Yvonne Gustafson, a parenting expert who teaches the new mom class at the Elizabeth Blackwell Center (FYI—love the EBC!) and she offered us all some tips on keeping babies cozy and safe in the winter. The big concern comes down to bulky coats in car seats.
Here’s the bottomline (because I know parents don’t have time to read a loooonnnngggg list!)
1.) Car seats—don’t over bundle to the point that the car seat harness and restraints no longer fit properly. If you aren’t going to be outside for long, skip the bulky winter coat on baby and instead dress them warmly and cover with a blanket over the harness. Remember the two finger rule. The harness should be no more than two fingers down from the collarbone. We tend to bundle kids up and wedge them into the car seat—don’t, because that can get in the way of the restraints. It is really important to maintain proper position in the car seat, keeping the neck in the correct position and airway open.
2.) Bedtime—Skip extra blankets and opt for a wearable blanket or sleepsack. Keep the room temperature between 68 and 75 degrees. Check the back of the baby’s neck for their core temperature. Hands and feet aren’t a good measure of comfort and safety.
3.) Clothing—layering is best (think onesie, sweater, pants, hat and socks). Outside remember hats and mittens to protect those hands. Baby should be dressed in one more layer than mom.
Stay warm and happy holidays friends!