Photo credit: Amanda Topinka / TravelingMom with Toddlers

Baby it’s cold outside. But that doesn’t mean that you and your toddler can’t enjoy a great winter escape!  Truth is, traveling to a chilly destination can be just as much fun as a warm destination spot. Whether you’re planning a ski resort vacation to Colorado or chilling out in an igloo hotel under the Northern Lights … your toddler can enjoy an escape just as much as anyone if you follow my practical tips on staying warm on vacation in the Winter.

Bundle Up

When it’s cold outside, you’ll need to dress you and your toddler in layers. A wind and water-resistant shell (preferably Nylon) and a warm coating on the inside (like down or Polartec) will help keep the cold “bite” away. HOWEVER, pay attention to your destination’s climate as down will do well in DRY, cold conditions but not so well in wet or snowy, cold conditions. Another alternative lining is Thinsulate, which dries quickly and still provides insulation when wet.

Choose something with a zipper that goes all the way down. Pullovers can be warm, but you can find the same warmth in something else AND it’ll be more convenient for those potty breaks or pull-up changes.

Make sure the cuffs fit snug around their wrists to prevent snow or wind from creeping in but not so tight that it cuts off the circulation. Velcro tabs that are adjustable are my personal favorite.

Mittens – not gloves

Have you ever tried putting a glove on a wiggly toddler? If you have then you’ll know it’s about as easy as shoveling the drive when it’s still snowing. Mittens are easier to slip right on and considered a little warmer because it keeps the fingers close together containing the warmth they give off. As with your toddler’s snowsuit and/or coat, the mittens should have an internal lining and weather resistant shell. And if they don’t come with the string attached, purchase some mitten clips to attach them to the sleeves of their coat so they don’t get lost. (Tip: Put the mittens on BEFORE putting their coat and/or snowsuit on so that the elastic helps hold the mittens on.)


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These little strips of cloth that you can easily make on your own can go a long way toward protecting your little one from harsh winter temperatures. A scarf not only gives extra warmth to your child’s upper body, but it can also be used to cover his or her face and mouth and prevent the sting of breathing icy cold air — which is especially important if your child has asthma.

From their head to their toes – WOOL is COOL!

You may have heard it before, body head is lost first through the head so a hat is VITAL when dealing with bitter cold weather. Even if the coat has a hood, a close fitted hat is a better choice to keep the heat in your tot’s head. Get one with earflaps because … well … they’re not only adorable when they’re wearing them, but it keeps their precious little ears warm and the wind away to avoid ear infections later.

Wool socks provide the best protection against frostbite on the toes and a sturdy pair of boots is the best option if your toddler is mobile. The more layers you have … the safer you’ll be. Dressing in layers helps regulate your body temperature and gives you the flexibility to remove articles of clothing based on where you’re at or where you’re going. Winter activities can keep your toddler busy, but once you stop moving, he or she will want (and need) those layers back!

A good rule of thumb is this: Your toddler needs ONE extra layer than you do in the winter.

Don’t go hungry and stay hydrated

It’s been proven that snacking (especially proteins and fats), will raise metabolism and slightly elevate body temperature. So make sure your toddler is taking in plenty of calories. Nuts, energy bars, and cheese are all good options. And while it’s tempting to drink less water when it’s cold outside, keep in mind that a dehydrated body (even slightly) is more susceptible to hypothermia – so make sure your little one is drinking enough too. If your child enjoys warm beverages, think about bringing along a small thermos with tea, warm cocoa, or warm milk.

Just because winter is here doesn’t mean you and the toddler need to hibernate. Nobody has to risk getting cabin fever if you follow my tips on dressing your toddler for the brisk cold weather that is upon most of us.