As it gets colder, it’s important that you have your little ones in appropriate winter wear. Purchasing jackets warm enough for snowy outdoor play requires plenty of research and planning, same with boots! Here are some tips we’ve put together to assist you in finding the right fit.
- Waterproofing: kids spend long periods of time playing in the snow each winter, which often results in sopping clothing. To combat winter wetness, ensure that the snow pants and jackets that you buy are waterproof and NOT water resistant. This way they truly repel water and keep your little ones dry. Waterproofing stitches are sealed from the inside. Their seams often feel like a ribbon on the inside of fabric.
- Insulation: we often assume that the thicker the coat the warmer it is, but this is no longer the case. High-quality, lightweight winter jackets are becoming increasingly more popular, though they are often quite expensive. If these styles aren’t in your budget, down coats are still ideal. Don’t forget, no matter the warmth of the jacket you purchase, it’s essential that you dress your child in layers. A fleece overthrow and long johns are must-haves for anyone navigating these wintery months.
- Material: breathable materials are excellent for snowy play, in particular because they allow your child to sweat without locking in moisture. Another great material is ripstop fabric. It prevents snags or tears from occurring, an essential feature when you consider the various skate-related activities your child will no doubt be attending this season.
- Adjustability: your child needs to be able to move freely in their winter wear, so have them test each jacket in-store. Your little one will need to be dressing themselves to the best of their abilities at daycare and school, so have them try out zippers, buttons, and straps in-store to determine which model works best for them. Cuffs should be adjustable so that mittens can be velcroed in, collars should be high enough to cover necks and soft enough not to chafe them, and hoods should be large enough to fit over hats and helmets.
- “Grow with me”: many higher quality children’s brands have a sort of “grow with me” double seam system. These can be cut out to stretch sleeves and pant legs by an extra inch or two for when your child grows. This feature will be advertised quite blatantly, should your purchase have it, so make sure that you’re cutting the specially-indicated seam. You should do your best to not purchase a jacket too large for your child. Gaping will result in heat-loss, thus even if they are wearing generous layers, your child will be colder than if they were wearing a coat closer to their size.
Thanks to Altitude’s 3 Tips for Choosing Your Kid’s Winter Jacket blog post and Sports Experts’ page on 5 Tips to Choose the Right Winter Gear For Your Child .
- Waterproofing: just as with jackets, there’s a huge difference between ‘waterproofing’ and ‘water resistance.’ Based on all the slush that we get in the Toronto area, waterproof boots are your best bet. With waterproof boots you can rest assured that there’ll be no leaks to soak your kiddies’ feet. To ensure that your child’s boots are so, check for tight seams and an inner liner that blocks any wetness from getting in.
- Breathability: to keep your child’s feet dry, the moisture from their feet must have a way to escape. Breathable boots are the answer to this. They’ll combat wetness AND keep feet smelling fresh.
- Insulation: while wool socks are a necessity for winter, so too are warm boots. Check to what temperatures the boots protect- some are warm enough to protect from temperatures as low as -100 C!
- Non-Slip Sole: it’s no lie that winter boots are heavy, but clumpy shoes can actually prevent slips and falls! Make sure that the sole of your child’s boot is well grooved and non-slip.
- Proper Height: the taller the boots, the warmer- and less wet- the legs. Snow boots should reach to about midway up the calf, so when snow drifts are tall, nothing can melt through your little one’s boots.
- Sizing: bigger boots are not better boots. In fact, too-large shoes promote heat-loss and lead to a faster wearing out of the soles. For kids aged 0-2 who are growing quite quickly, you should be able to fit two fingers in front of their toe. For those between the ages of 2 and 6, the width of a thumb is recommended.
Happy winter, everyone!