The weather outside may be frightful, but being cooped up isn’t delightful—for you or the kids. Check the thermometer—er, your weather app—and head out prepared with these stay-warm strategies from Hector de León, M.D., a pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente Colorado in Fort Collins.  

Children Bundled Up In Snow
Credit: Bojan Milinkov/Shutterstock

30°F – 40°F 

Green Zone

It’s chilly but tolerable when dressed properly (think layers, gloves, and a hat). But kids should stay outside for only two hours, max, and take a break every 30 to 45 minutes to warm up.

20°F – 30°F 

Yellow Zone

It’s pretty darn cold, so add a thicker hat and pair of gloves and wool socks. Kids shouldn’t stay outside for more than one hour, and should take regular breaks.

Below 20°F 

Red Zone

Kids should be outside for only brief periods in the bitter cold. Outfit ’em with long johns, a face mask, and earmuffs.

Signs It's Time To Come In

See any of these? Lure them inside with some hot cocoa!

  1. Rosy Cheeks. They’re caused by blood vessels dilating and then bursting after narrowing. It’s usually harmless and will clear up on its own, but it can lead to frostbite.
  2. Runny Nose. Low temps mean low humidity, making the air dry. Our noses run to moisturize the air before it reaches our lungs.
  3. Shivering. The brain is reacting to the cold by telling the muscles to heat up the body. This is a sure signal to get inside ASAP.

Family Fun