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New parents – we see you. The stress of a newborn baby is real – and the weather can actually make things even more complicated, especially when you have to leave the house.
We’re here with tips to help keep you worry-free when picking an outfit for your baby, no matter the season.
A good rule of thumb for the colder months, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, is to think about what you are wearing and add one more layer to your baby. For example, if you have on a short-sleeve shirt and a sweater, your baby should be wearing a long-sleeved shirt and a sweater, or a light cotton onesie under everything.
Layers are your friend. Adding a light cotton onesie under everything when going outdoors is a good place to start. You can always remove a layer if your baby seems too hot, but you’ll be out of luck if you need to add one and didn’t bring it with you.
Hats, mittens and booties should be worn at all times outside in the winter. Frostbite happens when the blood vessels and nerves in extremities are frozen. It’s most common on the ears, nose, fingers and toes.
Choose blankets over jackets in car seats. It is never safe for your baby to wear a thick jacket when strapped into a car seat. The material in the jacket doesn’t allow for a tight-fitting harness, which means if there’s an accident, your baby could get hurt. Instead, ditch the coat and put on a blanket instead.
Here’s an extra tip: For the littlest babies in the car seat, a car seat swaddle blanket can help keep them warm and calm for the trip. Just remember to tuck it in over the harness, not underneath.
Be mindful of the signs of overheating with too many layers. It can be tempting to pile on the blankets when you have a tiny newborn who seems so fragile, but it’s not wise. Check the back of your baby’s neck regularly to make sure they aren’t sweating or getting too hot. Overheating can lead to an increased risk of SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome.
When it’s hot out, there’s a host of things to think about. Heat and humidity are not going anywhere as the climate continues to warm and it’s particularly dangerous for new babies. A good general rule still applies: if you are hot and sweaty, so is your baby.
One layer of clothing is fine. Anything over 75 degrees is pretty much fair game for a single layer of clothing. Stick to 100% cotton materials that breathe well.
Sun protection is essential. A sunhat and sunscreen with SPF 15 or above should be worn at all times when outside, and reapply every two hours. Babies under 6 months old should be kept out of direct sunlight completely, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Check air quality before venturing out with your infant. Ozone can reach dangerous levels in the hotter months, especially in cities.
In spring and fall, when temperatures can be warmer or chillier throughout the day, layers are still the best bet. Always remember to keep clothing dry on rainy days and shield babies from the sun even if it’s not that hot out.
Babies should never be placed in cribs or bassinets with blankets. Blankets are not safe while your baby is sleeping, as they could become trapped or tangled in them and accidentally suffocate.
No matter the temperature outside, the nursery should be kept cool, between 68 and 72 degrees. If the room is within that range, dress babies for sleep in long-sleeved pajamas and a sleep sack or swaddle.
Any cooler than that, add a onesie as a base layer. If it’s warmer than 72, short-sleeved pajamas or just a onesie under the sleep sack or swaddle works best.
Senior producer Niki Budnick writes about breaking weather news, pets, lifestyle, health & wellness and more for weather.com.
The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.