Bundle your little one up before sending her out in the cold.

How to Dress Kids in Cold Weather

by Tamara Runzel

No way you're going to keep your child cooped up inside with you all winter -- that's crazy talk. Fortunately, cooler temperatures and snow don't have to mean the end to fun outdoor activities. You'll want to make sure, of course, that your little one is dressed for the cold weather. Without the proper clothing, kids can fall victim to serious conditions like hypothermia or frostbite. Choose the right layers before sending your little Eskimo out the door.

Start with long underwear as your child's first layer. Use a moisture-wicking material such as polyester, wool or a microfiber blend so it pulls the wetness away from her body if she sweats. A two-piece set of thermals instead of a one-piece makes bathroom breaks much less complicated.

Add a lightweight middle layer such as a fleece sweater or vest and pants, or a turtleneck and pants. Fleece works well because it has tiny pockets that keep in warm air.

Top that with a protective outer layer, such as a waterproof jacket and pants. Most waterproof clothing has a tightly woven fabric on the inside to keep warmth in and a shell on the outside to keep moisture out. If you’re not sure what to buy, look for these terms on the tag: "wind resistant," "water-repellant," and "breathable." Choose a longer jacket so your child’s skin isn’t exposed if he’s bending over when he plays.

Select a neck warmer to add extra warmth. Don’t use a scarf, as it can come loose and cause kids to stumble or get caught up in winter play equipment. A stretchy tube that pulls over your child's head and nestles under her chin is a better choice.

Choose a hat that works for your little one. For younger toddlers, hats with wide flaps that attach under the chin work best, but you can let your preschooler choose whatever hat he likes -- as long as it covers his ears.

Put a pair of mittens on your child's hands; they're the best choice because they allow warm air to circulate around the fingers. Choose mittens with a longer cuff to keep out snow and a nonskid surface for a better grip on winter equipment. Gloves are OK too if your tyke wants better control.

Add a pair of warm socks, such as a polyester and wool blend. Avoid cotton, as it absorbs wetness rather pulls it away. .

Finish the outfit off with water-resistant boots. Remember, you might have to buy the boots a bit big to accommodate thicker winter socks

Items you will need

  • Thermals
  • Fleece jacket and pants
  • Turtleneck and pants
  • Waterproof jacket and pants
  • Neck warmer
  • Hat
  • Mittens
  • Socks
  • Boots


  • Remember to apply sunscreen to your child’s face. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean she won’t get sunburn.


  • Never place your child in his car seat with all the extra layers. Add them when you reach your destination, as too many layers can prevent the car-seat harness from fitting snugly.

About the Author

Tamara Runzel has been writing parenting, family and relationship articles since 2008. Runzel started in television news, followed by education before deciding to be a stay at home mom. She is now a mom of three and home schools her two oldest children. Runzel holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from University of the Pacific.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images