(November 5, 2015)
She's heartier than you think in cold weather, but your baby still needs extra TLC when the temperature drops.
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True or False: Because they’re chubby, babies stay warm longer than adults do.
The body fat responsible for a baby’s roly-poly shape doesn’t mean her body will retain heat for longer than her parents' will. “Babies have a larger surface-area-to-body-mass ratio than adults do, so they lose heat faster from the surface of their skin,” explains Vicki Ianotti, MD, associate chief of general pediatrics at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York.
It’s chilly out so you’re planning to wear a sweater under your jacket. How many extra layers does your baby need?
No need to over-bundle your little bundle of joy. If you’re wearing a sweater and jacket over your clothes, your baby will be fine with the same number of warm layers plus, say, a lightweight blanket, says Ianotti. Whatever you’re wearing, dress your baby in the same amount of clothes plus one more layer.
There’s a newborn in the house. What temperature should you set the thermostat on?
Don’t worry — bringing a baby home doesn’t mean an automatic uptick of your heating bills. A 70-degree setting is warm enough as long as your baby is wearing a couple of layers, says Ionnati.
True or false: When the temperature is below freezing, you shouldn’t take your baby outside.
Even 20 degrees isn’t too cold for a baby to be out for a short period of time — as long as it takes to get from the house to the car, say, or the parking lot to the store. “As long as your baby is bundled up, she’ll be fine,” says Dyan Hes, MD, medical director at Gramercy Pediatrics in New York City. If she’s in a stroller, put up the cover to protect her from wind or snow.
The safest way to keep a baby warm at night is by…
A sleep sack gives a baby room to move those wiggly arms and legs and offers the warmth of a blanket without covering his face, putting him at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to the AAP. If you do use a blanket, make sure it’s thin, tucked under the crib mattress, and reaches only as high as your baby’s chest.
A newborn should wear a hat…
“All people lose a lot of heat off the top of their head, including babies,” says Ianotti. “And babies often don’t have a lot of hair, but have a lot of vessels in that area.” A little hat can keep all that warmth in, even inside your house, if you keep it on the cooler side.
It’s cold out and you’re putting your baby in his car seat for a ride. Do you…
Nothing should come between your baby and his safety harness, especially not a puffy snowsuit or coat, which can interfere with the restraints in the event of a crash.
True or false: When a baby's cheeks turn red, it means shes:
A baby's rosy cheeks could be a sign she's too cold or too hot. That's because an infant's delicate skin is highly reactive to both excessive heat and excessive cold, says Ianotti.
True or false: It’s a good idea in winter to give your baby a warm bath every day.
According to American Academy of Pediatricians, most doctors say bathing a baby several times a week in winter is enough. In fact, too frequent exposure to water can cause a baby’s delicate skin to become too dry.
Compared to adults, babies are:
Babies’ temperature-control mechanisms aren’t as fine-tuned as adults’. When you come in from the cold, be sure to peel off your little one's extra layers, including mittens and booties, so she doesn't get too hot, advises Ionatti.
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