At What Temperature Is It Dangerous For A Toddler To Go Outside? Time To Bundle Up

Ad failed to load

Hear me out: I let my children play outside even when it's really, really cold. I always have. I live in a neighborhood populated by immigrants primarily from northern Russia, the Ukraine, and the high mountains of Slovakia and Belarus. We are a cold-loving people. The region of Slovakia where my Grandmother is from in the Tatra Mountains in the Carpathians gets bitterly cold, and she ushered my happy behind outside to play all the time as a child. Is it safe though? At what temperature is it dangerous for a toddler to go outside?

In northern regions all over the world, from Toronto to Siberia, it's not uncommon to see parents taking their children outside in sub-zero temperatures to get exercise and fresh air. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), however, recommends keeping your children indoors once the wind chill reaches -15 degrees Fahrenheit. Other than that, it's all about keeping dry, bundling up, and taking frequent warming breaks.

There are more pictures of me as a toddler and child playing in the snow than there are of me playing in the sunny warmth of summer. I've never liked the heat. It's just so... well, hot. Even as a child, the idea of getting sweaty and burnt never appealed. However, rolling down my backyard hill in the snow and sledding for hours upon hours? That was the most fun I would have all year.

Ad failed to load

In Norway, it's not uncommon to see mothers leave their babies outside in their prams to nap when it's below zero (Celsius) outside, according to the BBC. They claim the babies nap better, longer, and are all the happier for it. I witnessed the same phenomenon with the moms and grandmothers in my area. It doesn't matter how cold it is outside, for the most part, you'll see parents pushing babies in their strollers, bundled up, when it's 15 degrees Fahrenheit outside. The babies are knocked out and happy. I did the same for my children and it really does work. They sleep like tiny bundled logs, and wake refreshed and happy with the sunlight and fresh air.

According to the AAP, the danger in cold weather for your toddler depends a lot on if you know how to appropriately bundle your baby. The organization suggested using several thin layers, and possibly a snowsuit. This will keep them dry and comfortable. Make sure their boots are waterproof and their gloves are insulated, too. None of those thin stretchy things for the coldest days. The key is that they should be dry, not sweating, and their core should be slightly warmer than their extremities. Their fingers shouldn't hurt or go numb, and the same goes for their toes. If it's really cold, go in every 20 to 30 minutes to warm up a bit before going back out.

Ad failed to load

However, hypothermia and frostbite are real and dangerous. The AAP warned that if your child is acting confused or slurring their speech, or if they're more uncoordinated than what's normal for them, they need to be warmed up immediately and seen by a doctor. Those are the signs of hypothermia. It's scary, and if you're being cautious it's highly unlikely to happen, but it can, according to an article in the CBC.

Where hypothermia seems to affect the interior, frostbite attacks the exterior. It's the freezing of the outer layers of the skin affected by the cold, and it can be very dangerous. If a digit, hand or foot blanches, turns bright red, is numb or painful, these are some of the symptoms of frostbite, according to The Mayo Clinic. The skin may look waxy or blister upon warming. Frostbite happens most often in the extremities and on exposed skin, and it can happen fast, so bundle up, buttercup.

Ad failed to load

If you're raising a snow baby like me, it's hard to keep them indoors when the lure of the cold is just outside their reach. However, with a few strategies like bundling up and taking warming breaks, it can be done safely, even in very cold weather.

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

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills