7 tips to keep your infant safe and warm

Baby, it’s cold outside

Tips to keep baby warm

“Jack Frost nipping at your nose" may be part of a fun winter song, but frostbite is no laughing matter, especially for new moms trying to keep their kids protected in frigid temperatures. With the arrival of winter, area pediatricians have found their waiting rooms filled with parents and their sick babies. Hudson Valley Parent picked the brains of some of the area’s best pediatricians for tips that every parent should know as the “mercury” plummets:

Think layers. Whether your baby is a few days old or 24-years-old, no one can overlook the importance of layering clothing to trap warmth once the temperature dips. “In the winter, parents should remember to dress their baby as warmly as they dress themselves, plus one layer,” says Richard Fuchs, MD of Crystal Run Healthcare. That means instead of one pair of socks, try putting two pairs on your infant. The same goes for mittens, hats and underwear. The beauty of layering is that you can always remove layers.

READ MORE: Keep your baby safe at home!

Keep your baby safe and cozy overnight. Doctors suggest using a one-piece sleeper or a sleeper blanket for infants. Most do not recommend loose bedding such as blankets, quilts and pillows since they may increase the risk of suffocation or contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. “Parents should also remember to keep the temperature of the baby’s room between 68 and 75 degrees, just as they would for themselves,” says Fuchs.

Avoid frostbite. Limit the amount of time your child spends out in the cold. Frostbite occurs when skin and other tissue become frozen. Jack Frost can nip a child’s nose, fingers, ears and toes. Skin may become pale in these key areas if frost nip sets in followed by frostbite. Older children may complain that their skin burns or feels numb.

If frostbite occurs, place frostbitten area in warm-not hot-water. Do not rub frozen parts. Wrap child in warm clothing and give the child something warm to drink. “If you’re still unsure about the child’s condition,” says Fuchs, “call your doctor or 911.”

Prevent hypothermia. This condition often occurs when a child spends too much time outdoors without being properly dressed. The core body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The child may shiver and appear confused. Older children may have slurred speech. If you suspect hypothermia, bring the child indoors, put the child in warm clothes and call 911.

Wash to fight cold & flu.
“I want to dispel the myth that you can catch a cold just by being out in the cold,” says Lin-Lin Remenar, MD of Crystal Run Healthcare. The flu and common cold are caused by viruses, which can be transferred from person-to-person. That’s why it’s important to wash your hands often, especially before touching your baby. It’s also a good idea to remind older children to sneeze into their elbows and not their hands. “Viruses thrive in cold weather. You may be more likely to catch a cold from someone else, if your body is stressed out by winter weather,” says Remenar.

Parents should get flu shots. Doctors don’t recommend flu shots for babies under 6 months of age, since their immune systems aren’t ready yet, but Remenar does recommend that parents of newborns get vaccinated to reduce their baby’s risk of exposure to the flu virus.

Prevent nosebleeds. Winter’s dryness causes some children to have seasonal nosebleeds. If your child is among those effected, doctors suggest putting a humidifier in your kid’s room and using saline nose drops. “In the winter, the mucous lining of their noses dry out,” says Remenar. While some of these tips are common sense, they serve as a good checklist. Baby, it’s cold outside, but if you follow doctors’ orders, your baby will stay safe and warm this winter.