Sunday, 22 November 2009
With the approach of winter I have begun to wonder how cold it should be before I stop taking the children I nanny for outside. I believe in getting out of the house and going outside for fresh air but I also believe in keeping kids healthy so this has been a concern of mine recently. I decided to seek out my mother for some advice on this one since she knows a thing or two about young children and cold weather.
When I was young my family lived in a small town in northern New Hampshire. I was brought into this world on a cold, cold day in the month of January; it was 31 degrees below 0! My mom was excited and nervous as I was her first and only child. She had a million questions to ask the Dr. but one of the first was “Is it too cold for me to take her outside?”
The doctor said that it was but of course she could take me from hospital to car and car to house but after that he did not recommend taking me out of doors until it was above freezing. My mother jokingly responded that in that case I would not get to go outside again until May!
Since I get cold once the temperature dips below 80 degrees I was worried I would not be the best judge in determining how cold the children may be. One of the little guys I watch is old enough to tell me if he feels warm or cold but the other two still do not talk so they are who I am most worried about.
My mom informed me that children normally tend to have higher body temperatures than adults do so not to worry too much. This is something I had never heard before but it does make sense considering children’s metabolisms are faster than ours. Still, I know that this little bit of information does not mean kids don’t need to be bundled up a bit before heading outside.
Once the temperature does get close to freezing I plan to only bring the kids out when it is absolutely necessary. But when you need to take kids out I have heard that you should put one extra layer on a baby or child than you would put on yourself to ensure that they keep warm. This seems like a good rule of thumb.
Besides, undershirts, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, pants, socks, and coats one item that is key for baby’s comfort in cold weather is a blanket. When I do have to bring the children I watch out of doors I will make sure to wrap the 4-month-old in one or as my mother suggested a bunting.
I will also be making sure that we do not leave the house without hats on all of their heads. About 10% of body heat can be lost when a head is hat-less. Though that percentage is not as high as it was once believed to be (45% was thought in the 1950s) 10% is still a decent amount and enough of a reason for me to put a hat on my own head so of course enough to make me put them on the kids’ heads as well. Besides, the head is one of the most sensitive body parts when it comes to changes in temperature so if it makes a child feel more comfortable that still counts for something, right?
What tips do you have for getting the kids ready for the cold?