Every parent’s fear during the winters is how to make her baby safe from the extreme cold during the season. It is a fear or may be we get panicked as soon as the winters are approaching.
The most difficult thing is that they are kids and yet exploring the world. So, they will definitely sit on the floor or may be even role, and also get themselves wet, which is something that needs to be avoided completely.
In western countries, there is a centralized air conditioner keeping the indoors warm. They even have carpeted floors, helping the kids to safely play on the floors. But in countries like India (and other developing countries) , we do not have such luxuries in most of our homes. So the best thing we can do is protect our kids from the chilly winters, especially during the months of December and January.
There are a lot of things that can protect our infants and toddlers from getting sick, and enjoying the winters as well.
The change in the seasons where we sometimes get confused between whether it is hot, or a little cold, is the most dangerous of all, as we do not take it seriously and that is the time we fall sick, especially our children. In India we say “Aati jaati thand he bimar karti hai” (the winters in the beginning of the season and at the end causes maximum health issues), as we get careless during this time..
There can be a few things which can be done to have safe and healthy winter season for our kids.
Your toddler is not potty trained yet?? No problem… Try avoiding potty training in winters, and continue or start once the winters are gone. Use diapers. They protect your child from getting wet frequently. If the baby pees again and again and wets his or her pants, the child would definitely feel cold and this can be a reasons for falling sick. So, it is better in countries like India to use diapers regularly during the winters.
But the most important thing is to maintain good hygiene, to avoid any rashes or discomfort. A half an hour of free time should be given during every diaper change, and the diaper should be changed frequently or immediately when the baby poops.
In western countries many mothers prefer potty training and avoiding diapers during the winters, due to the obvious reason of having a centralized air conditioner, and also due to the fact that the kids are home most of the time during the winters due to the snow and the chilling cold outside. But in India the scenario is different.
Instead of using a thick woolen sweater or a jacket alone, layering is the key. Between the two layers of clothes, air gets entrapped. This air acts as an insulator which prevents heat from the body to go out and the cold from outside to reach the body, thus keeping the body warm. So, layering is the key. You can start with the thermal warmers, as they are very soft and will not cause any rashes on the skin. Sweaters if worn directly can cause rashes on the body.
Also, in this technique you can increase or decrease the number of layers depending upon how cold it is, whether you are inside or outside.
3. Socks and Mittens
May be your child is not wearing shoes, or he or she doesn’t like wearing shoes yet. So, there should be at least socks to protect the cold from reaching the body from the floor. Same goes for the gloves or mittens. It is better to put on gloves if you are going outside or if your infant is crawling on the floor. Care must be taken, that they might slip as the material might not provide a lot of friction and there can be chances of slipping.
A cap, covering the ears, especially when outside is a must. The chilly winter breeze hits the head when we are outside and a cap can prevent it from causing cold and the flu.
Children sometimes get cranky and try making a tantrum when we cover their head with a woolen cap. This can be avoided by explaining them before itself and also using a cap for yourself as well. This will help them believe that they are not alone and you are accompanying them in something they don’t like.
5. Luke warm Water Bath
The water to be used should be neither very hot nor cold. In fact should be just warm enough to give a pleasant bath. Hot water can cause dryness of the skin and may be unpleasant for your child. The bath in winters should be kept for short intervals to maximum of 3-4 minutes and the child should be wrapped in the towel, pat dried and moisturized well immediately after the bath.
The moisturizer locks in the water and prevents the skin from getting dry. Dry skin can further cause cuts or bruises which can be painful especially for delicate skin of babies. So, moisturizing is the key to prevent dryness in winters. Especially after the bath when the body can absorb more of it, moisturizing is a must. In fact you can moisturize several times a day.
Remember to use a good baby moisture which does not have parabens or synthetic colors and also that is free of fragrance.
Lips also need to be moisturized and petroleum jelly is the best to do that. Dryness of the lips should be prevented.
7. Warm water and warm soups
It is likely not to feel thirsty during the winters as there is no sweating or heat to make us feel that way. But water is very essential for making a balance preventing dehydration especially for babies (above 6 months of age). The day can be started with a little luke warm water and the same can be continued through out the day.
Other warm liquids like soups should also be incorporated as they help in preventing cold and also are essential for a healthy and balanced diet. But the home made soups should be preferred to the artificial ones.
8. Siting Outdoors
We totally try to cut our kids from the outside world during this season. But this should not be the case as fresh air is very important for the little ones and we should at least make them sit in the sun when the weather is a little better and is sunny outside. We should let them play in the open parks, get on the rides and mix up with each other. If it is not sunny, wearing an appropriate attire and going for small walks in the open air should be good.
Good ventilation of our houses is a must even in the winters which prevents various types of flu as well. We should make it a point to keep the windows open in the mornings for some time at the minimum for the fresh air to come in.
Using blankets not just over but also under is important. Use a cozy warm blanket under your baby as a bed spread to give warmth from the bed also. Use a blanket over the baby as well. As most of the kids do not like being covered by the blanket, make sure it is not very heavy and also make sure the you cover the baby up, once again when the baby removes it.
There are electric blankets available now which can be used to warm the beds in the extreme winters.
10. Flu Shot
An annual flu shot/vaccine is a must to prevent the kids from getting the flu during the winters. This might not completely eliminate all kinds of flu, but can definitely prevent some severe forms. Flu like Influenza which leads to serious complications can be prevented and therefore the annual flu shots should never be missed.
Despite taking all the effort and giving the best to your baby, they still might land up getting sick with a cold or a fever. That is the time when we start doubting our self, that we might have missed something. The mom guilt sets in. But the most important thing is to realize that everything can not be controlled and at the moment what the child wants is proper care, medication and love. The change in season can cause the body to respond differently.
So, what we need to do is take care of our child, as well as of our self in this time and enjoy the season.
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