Scott Barbour/Getty Images News/Getty Images

4 Studies About Keeping Kids Healthy During The Winter That All Parents Should Read

Ad failed to load

For those of us who live in cities with a full range of seasons, winter is now definitively in full swing — and with the dropping temperatures comes an understandable uptick in parents' worries about keeping kids safe and healthy. If you're trying to make it through the year without feeling the worst effects of cold and flu season, here are four studies about keeping kids healthy during the winter that are well worth a read.

First of all, you'll want to make sure that kids are getting enough exercise despite the colder weather — that's 60 minutes a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's easy to let playtime slip in the colder months, but exercise will give immune systems a healthy boost. You'll also want to make sure your kids are getting their daily dose of fruits and vegetables, since a healthy diet has also been linked to a healthier immune system.

Outside of those preventative basics, however, what else can you do to keep kids healthy during the winter? If you're worried about an increase in illnesses in the winter, you'll want to check out a few of the studies below:

Ad failed to load

Kids Should Be Getting The Seasonal Flu Vaccine Every Year


While it frequently gets lumped in with the common cold, parents shouldn't underestimate the flu. Influenza can lead to serious complications fairly quickly — especially in young kids — which can send them to the hospital. According to the CDC, there have been as many as 710,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 56,000 flu-related deaths in the United States alone since 2010.

Ad failed to load

Anyone over the age of 6 months old should be getting the seasonal flu vaccine every single year. Need more convincing? One study published earlier this year found that fully vaccinated kids have a 60 percent lower chance of being hospitalized due to flu-related conditions. Even partially vaccinated children have a 39 percent lower chance of hospitalization. And yet, CDC estimates put the number of children vaccinated against the flu at only 59.3 percent in the United States which is below target levels and makes it easier for the flu to spread.

The Weather Itself Won't Make Your Kids Sick

Ad failed to load

If you're worried that the snowy weather outside might lead your kids to catch a cold, you can safely stash those fears away. While a study carried out in 2014 found that the common cold may actually spread more effectively in cold weather, the low temperatures themselves aren't what cause disease. The cause is still just the virus itself — so if your children are washing their hands properly and often, they should have no problem going outside to enjoy the winter wonderland outdoors.

As Ellen Foxman, assistant professor at the Yale University School of Medicine, put it for Popular Science last year: "If the virus isn’t in your nose, it can’t cause infection."

Skip The Cold Medicine

Ad failed to load

If your kids are younger than 6, chances are they shouldn't be taking any cough or cold medicine when they're under the weather. It's unlikely to help them, and the side effects can present very real risks (of serious harm or death) for children. According to the Food and Drug Administration, kids under 2 shouldn't be given any cough or cold medicine at all, and parents should be careful when it comes to giving children older than that medication, as well.

Instead, consider using a nasal saline drop or cold air humidifier for cases of congestion, and honey for sore throats and coughs, as Slate recommends. But, as always talk to your pediatrician first.

Don't Try & Protect Them From Everything

Ad failed to load

Getting your kids vaccinated against the flu is definitely a wise choice every year. But if your kids are daycare-aged, they're still likely to bring home a few illnesses. Not only is that OK, but it actually might help them out later in life.

Studies carried out in 2002, 2010, and 2016 all found that, at age 2, kids in group care tend to get sick more frequently and earlier in life than kids who stay home. However, just a couple of years down the line, those same kids are less likely to get sick.

"We think if you are infected at an early age you build up immunity against these viruses or bacteria," Marieke de Hoog, an epidemiologist at University Medical Center Utrecht, told The New York Times last year. "There is even a possibility that the protective effect we have seen will continue when children grow up — we need more research."

Ad failed to load

With a bit of preventative preparation and the right information on hand, families can get through even the colder months of the year without too much fuss. Here's to ringing in the new year happy and healthy!

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack