The more parents understand about keeping their little ones warm and dry, the more fun everyone will have on cold and snowy days.
If it's very windy or cold, babies and toddlers should stay indoors if at all possible.
Head to Toe
Hats, scarves, mittens, and boots are essential for playing in the snow or facing icy winds. All children - and babies and toddlers without exception -- should wear hats, since so much body heat escapes through the head.
If the child's jacket doesn't protect his neck, wrap a scarf around it (tuck the ends inside the jacket if you can), or slip a hood-style hat over his head - the kind where only his little face peers out.
Mittens keep hands warmer than gloves and are easier for young children. Be sure to slip on an extra pair of socks, too.
Don't rely on last-year's boots. Boots should be large enough so that kids can easily wiggle their toes. This will help circulation and keep the feet warmer.
Infants usually spend only short periods outside and so do well in thermal wear and fleecy outerwear. Make sure they are dressed warmly but not over bundled beneath the snowsuit - these fabrics work best when worn over layers.
Older kids need waterproof snow suits. These can be layered over fleecy clothing.
Wool is one of the best insulators. Dress your little ones in soft wool sweaters, wool mittens and wool socks under outer clothing. Soft wool hats are great, too -- although fleecy ones are excellent and comfy.
Sun and Wind
Protect exposed skin from sun and wind with sunscreen and petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly prevents chapping and is especially important on lips and under runny noses.
Sunscreen is as important in the winter as the summer. Apply it every time the children go outside. Ask the pediatrician about using sunscreen on infants, who have extremely sun-sensitive skin.
On bright days, put sunglasses with UV protection lenses on all kids, even babies.
Watch the Temperature
Children get colder more quickly than adults. They play hard and work up a sweat in their bulky clothing. Keep a close eye on them and insist that they go inside to warm up frequently.
If your children start shivering or their skin feels very cold to the touch, take them inside. If their clothing gets wet, take them inside.
Remove their outside gear, and in particular, wet socks, mittens, and snow pants, as soon as they are indoors. Let them warm up with cocoa or hot cider.
Don't let the kids go outside until they are completely warm and dry and are outfitted with dry hats, mittens, socks, and other clothing.